Enable learners to progress at their own pace based on demonstrated competencies
In a Learner Demonstrated environment, learners begin at a level appropriate to their prior knowledge and learning needs; engage in productive struggle; progress at a pace that fits their learning needs; demonstrate competency when ready; demonstrate evidence of learning in multiple ways; and receive recognition based on demonstrated competency, rather than seat time.
more students earned A’s or B’s when a course was delivered with a competency-based instructional approach rather than a traditional approach.
How Do Learner Demonstrated Experiences Help Students?
Students make academic progress, tackle challenges and improve perseverance when they are in classrooms that feature flexible but rigorous pacing and assessments. Teachers can make it safe to struggle and fail so that students recognize the importance of mastering a skill over just showing up for class and turning in required assignments.
The Elements of a Learner Demonstrated Experience
Students begin at a level appropriate to their prior knowledge and learning needs.
Students engage in productive struggle.
Students progress at a pace that fits their learning needs.
Students demonstrate competency when ready.
Students demonstrate evidence of learning in multiple ways.
Students receive recognition based on demonstrated competency, rather than seat time.
“Simply grouping students according to tested ability has a negative overall effect.”
- Deunk, M., Doolaard, S., Smale-Jacobse, A., & Bosker, R. J. (2015).
What Does the Research Say?
Interventions that help teachers provide students with lessons at appropriately challenging levels consistently produced learning gains. This typically involved using pre-tests to gauge what students know and the supports they need to progress.1
In the classroom, both students and teachers must believe that struggle is necessary and must be worked through rather than avoided. Still, a student’s struggle must be visible to the teacher so the teacher can gauge whether the student is making progress or needs more support.2
Individualized pacing–when students learn at their own pace, get regular feedback, and move forward when they are ready–improves student motivation and the belief that they can be successful learners, especially on mathematics tasks.3
1. Learner Demonstrated Element #1
Beginning at level appropriate to prior knowledge and learning needs
2. Learner Demonstrated Element #2
Engaging in productive struggle
3. Learner Focused Element #3
Progressing at a pace that fits learning needs