Testing for Competency

I just wanted to make a quick note about Testing, or Assessment, as it relates to standards and competency-based grading with differentiated instruction

In the old (non-differentiated instruction) world, there were magic dates when the teacher would plan a test and you had to know all the material/concepts that would be covered on the test by that date, or else. With standards-based grading, a test, or assessment, is just a means to determine whether you’ve mastered the concept yet.

With differentiated instruction (possibly in a more competency-based approach), students will each take an assessment on the concept when they’re ready. The assessment is checked to see if the student did it correctly (preferably immediately after taking it). If they find they’d misunderstood something, the student can get some help in whatever form is most appropriate. Then the student can take another assessment to prove they’ve now mastered it. If a student already learned a standard/concept outside of school (from an older sibling, on an internship, etc.), he/she could take the assessment right away (a pre-test) without wasting the teacher’s or student’s time (and becoming bored and possibly disruptive). Maybe the student would “test out” of the standard or the pre-test might give the teacher some insight into exactly what the student needs.



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