CBE Unit 3

Return to: ETAP 623 Fall 2019 (Zhang) | Brandon's Personal Page | CBE Unit 1 | CBE Unit 2

Learning Objectives

In this unit, students will be able to...

(5) develop reassessments that measure new student learning, either in small groups or in a whole-group setting.

(6) create a sample series of lessons that implement the principles of Competency-Based Education using the students' chosen content area or grade level.

In this unit, you will again be using the learning targets and standards you selected in Unit 2. Have these assignments handy as you complete the assessments for this unit.

Lesson 3.0 - An Aside About Standards-Based Grading

Yes, the labeling of this lesson is correct. Though this mini-course is not necessarily directly toward the grading of student work, the components of Standards-Based Grading closely follow those of Competency-Based Education. As we progress through this mini-lesson, recall the features of CBE and think about how the concepts are related.


Below is a link to a Google Form. In this form, select the statements that best describe the procedures you use to calculate your students' grades. Respond to the statement at the end of the form.


Just as with the Competency-Based model, Standards-Based Grading does not focus on the coverage of all material or and average of assignment to determine large portions of the grade. Instead, Standards-Based Grading focuses on each of the following:

(1) Students receive a score on every essential learning target taught within a school year or marking period. This score is typically on a 1-4 scale. Recall that all of your grades for this course are assessed using a 1-4 scale, as shown on the Curriculum Map.

(2) Every assessment receives this 1-4 score. Once all assessments are completed, the teacher uses his/her professional expertise again uses the 1-4 scale to determine the students' understanding of the learning target as a whole.

(3) Assessments within a learning target are NEVER averaged to create a new score. Doing so would restrict a students' ability to improve based on one poor score. For example, if a student receives a level 1 on the first assessment and a level 4 on the second, the student should not receive a 2.5 (the average between the 1 and 4 scores), unless the teacher feels as though the student is truly performing at this level. In this case however, it would appear the student has learned from their mistakes, and should be granted higher scores accordingly.

(4) Once all scores for the learning targets are established, the scores can then be averaged into a composite score. This composite score can then be translated into a percentage or letter grade, depending on the district. (Marzano, 2010 p. 106)

The bolded sections of this lesson represent how Standards-Based Grades and Competency-Based Education are meant to align. In this system, students are rewarded, if not required, to reassess their learning of learning targets they have struggled with to achieve competency, their grades clearly indicate what the student knows and does not know, and shows how assessments can be viewed as practices for the future.

Lesson 3.1 - Reassessing Student Learning

Let's face facts: no matter how hard we try, there are always some students who do not achieve competency on a learning target on the first try. In the Competency-Based model, the buck does not stop at the "failed" assessment, but shifts to focus on practice the skill for long enough to perform well on the next one. Though pedagogies may differ here, the students' grade for the course should indicate how much the students knows about the course content, not that they struggle at first, but eventually learn the material, so they fall in the middle of the road.

REFLECTION ON YOUR PRACTICE: Below are two links to articles relating to reassessing student learning after some initial formative assessment. The first is a description on how one school is incorporating reassessment days and periods into their school calendar to accommodate student needs. The second offers a different view, showing caution as to how reassessment should occur.


In the Google Form here, reflect on what you have read. Which one of the authors do you believe has offered the more convincing argument and why? What components can you take for one or both of the authors to make reassessments both meaningful and attainable in your classroom?

Recall from Unit 1 that one of the founding principles of Competency-Based Education is educational experiences personalized to every students' needs. It certainly is not feasible to offer every student an individualized educational experience every day. However, it is possible to differentiate lessons, or create new ones, so students who have yet to be successful can practice the skills they have yet to master so they can demonstrate the necessary competency. This could mean breaking down a complex task into manageable parts, scaffolding parts of an assignment to address student needs, or providing an opportunity for students to apply their learning to new contexts. No matter how this reassessment process looks, the new assessment must retain the same rigor as the original assessment, but may be structured so students can use what they have practiced to assist them.

ASSESSMENT: Return to the formative assessment you created in the Assessment section of Lesson 2.3. You have determined that 5 of your students have not yet met competency for this learning target, and all five are showing evidence of the same misconception associated with the learning target. On this Google Document (which follows the same structure as Lesson 2.3), create an activity that allows these students to practice the skill they were not successful with, and a new means of assessing their competency with the learning target.

Lesson 3.2 - Putting It All Together

This lesson is an opportunity to assemble all we have done throughout the course into a three lesson series. We may think of this lesson as one portfolio ASSESSMENT of your learning so far.

This Google Document contains three lesson plan templates. Using the standards and learning targets you have used in Units 2 and 3, your job will be to create a series of three lesson plans: the first where you teach and formatively assess your students understanding of the learning target, the second where you practice the learning target again, providing additional support and enrichment as needed, and the third where you more formally assess the student's learning using an authentic task.

Before embarking on the assessment, explore this link of exemplar assignments produced by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. This site contains authentic assessment ideas that teachers across the country have used to assess their students competencies with their own learning targets. Feel free to use any of the ideas listed under the "Academic Disciplines and Assignment Characteristics" tab as inspiration.

Within the lesson plans, fill out the accompanying boxes where you address how you incorporate the characteristics of Competency-Based Education. The prompt is purposefully open-ended; refer to Unit 1 for information as to what the components are, and how they can be used in your classroom. You will find that a good portion of these lesson plans have already been written as part of the ASSESSMENT section in Units 2 and 3. Feel free to use my feedback or your own self-reflections to make revisions, but there is no need to "reinvent the wheel."

When you have finished the assessment, submit it to this Google Form here.


Take this opportunity to complete the self-assessment for Unit 3. Your hard work in this mini-course is much appreciated! Here is the link.


Marzano, R. (2010). Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research.

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. (2019) Assignment Library. Retrieved from https://www.learningoutcomesassessment.org/ourwork/assignment-library/

Schimmer. T (2018). It's Okay to NOT Reassess. Retrieved from https://allthingsassessment.info/2018/06/12/limiting-reassessment/.

Stofanak, E. (2012) Re-Learning and Reassessment. Retrieved from https://www.competencyworks.org/how-to/re-learning-and-reassessment/