The Problems With Competency Based Ed. in NH Schools

Recently there was a brief discussion on a social media web site by NEW HAMPSHIRE parents and a NEW HAMPSHIRE teacher addressing the problems with Competency Based Ed. (CBE)

CBE has is another part of the Obama redesign in public education. Like the Common Core Standards, CBE is included in the federal reform. (SEE: Strategically use learning time in more meaningful ways, which could include effective application of technology, redesigning school calendars, and competency-based progression.)

We’ve also posted information that CBE is just another rehashing of the failed Outcome Based Education model that’s been tried in other states and proved to be a fad that never improved academic achievement. (SEE links below)

You can also read a detailed summary on how CBE is failing in Maine by one of their state school board members here:

Or read another post by a Rochester NH School Board member who explains the failures she’s seen in her district with CBE:

Once again we call attention to the NH Dept. of Ed under Governor Hassan FOLLOWING the Federal reforms rather than LEADING New Hampshire to academic excellence.

Below is a discussion between a couple of parents and a teacher. We’ve elected to remove their last names in order to respect their privacy….

Tanya: If there is one thing in the whole “competency” grading is that from a parents perspective..we see that our child received a “C” for competent..ok great! BUT how “competent” is my child? How many Cs in a particular area means they are fully competent and have basically “mastered” this ? How many NYCs can they get to still be considered “competent” in a particular area? And lets focus on this aspect for a minute…Competent means-”acceptable and satisfactory, though not outstanding” . Yet the goal of this is to have the children become competent..isn’t it??? Now lets look at what “Not Yet Competent” really means (I went with incompetent because the two are one in the same)- “not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully. synonyms: inept, unskillful, unskilled, inexpert, amateurish, unprofessional, bungling, blundering, clumsy, inadequate, substandard, inferior, ineffective, deficient, inefficient, ineffectual, wanting, lacking, leaving much to be desired”. This is what kids are being told they are when they are struggling to learn something..they are “inept or deficient”. I am not sure about any of you, but I don’t find this appropriate!! I grew up receiving letter grades and I feel they are much more informative for parents and the children.

Tom: The other thing that I find disturbing about “Competencies” is that the teachers seem to stop at “Competent.” The teachers neither look for not encourage the students to do work above the “Competent” level. My grandkids come home all pleased that they are “Competent” but when asked if there is anything above that grade there is confusion – the only goal is to be “Competent.”

TEACHER: It could be because they run out of time to get them above competent. They reach competent and it’s time to move onto the next competency. There’s never enough time in public education. Even esl kids fresh off the boat are expected to have mastered English after one year even though the research says 7-10 years is needed for academic language alone though the process can be accelerated with sound teaching methods and support. It’s unrealistical. That is, what’s being asked of your children is.

Tom: My grandkids spend most of their school days waiting for the rest of the class to “catch up.” They get the concepts right away, then wait for the rest of the class to also become “Competent.” (This is something that we were assured would NEVER happen under competencies – that advanced learners would be able to move right along once they grasped a concept.) They NEVER have homework because outside assignments are completed in class while waiting for the rest of the class to catch up. Yet, despite their quick understanding of subject matter, they are rarely graded at anything beyond “Competent.”

TEACHER: That’s another problem. Those who are ready to move on have to wait. They should be given enrichment activities to challenge them more. I taught grades 1-2 this past year and balancing it all was a constant struggle. I had two major behavior issues that were violent and 20 kids. So I was either deescalating something, almost getting hit myself or trying to get the ones behind to catch up. I agree with you. Their homework should be just that. It’s a failing system which is why I am going to start at a boarding school because I’ve had enough.

The failed Outcome Based Model is again, holding kids back who could be advancing and creating more problems in the classroom. This model is a dumbed down workforce training model that parents had to deal with in the 90′s and fought against:

Education reform is about rehashing failed fads and renaming them so parents will not know what they are doing to their children.

DEMAND BETTER. Contact your legislators and tell them NO MORE EXPERIMENTING ON MY KIDS!

More on the failures of Competency Based ed: