Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

Personalized, Competency-Based Learning embeds equity within the culture, structure, and pedagogy of schools. In this framework, student ownership is at the core of creating equitable learning experiences through flexible learning environments, co-designed learner profiles, and learning pathways. The Profile of the SC Graduate Competencies are infused into instructional practices and priority is placed on meeting the needs of every learner, every day.

There are teachers all across Berkeley County School District that implement components of PCBL. Westview Elementary and Westview Primary have both served as Inquiry Labs, opening their classrooms for educators around the state to observe and learn more about their journey with PCBL.

PCBL is multi-faceted. Learner profiles are created by students to portray their learner preferences, interests, strengths, areas for growth, and other elements. Both the student and teachers use this information. For example: the student noted in their learning profile that they are successful when collaborating with groups to complete assignments. A student may use this information when navigating choice assignments by choosing to work collaboratively with a group to achieve the learning targets rather than independently.  

Leading with a flexible mindset, learning experiences are designed to support learning anytime and anywhere. Flexible learning environments provide flexibility in the pace, space, and place for learning.  For example, a classroom environment is adjusted depending on the learning targets and needs of the students.  Students may be researching ocean life. Some students may visit a station set up in the classroom to read through different print resources, some may plug headphones in and watch videos, and others may conduct an interview with a staff member from the aquarium through a Google Meet.  

The implementation of PCBL empowers students to own their learning and ties directly to the Profile of a South Carolina Graduate. The following information comes from the SCDE Office of Personalized Learning Website.

Student Ownership

Student ownership supports self-directed, empowered learners who are actively engaged in driving their own success. Self-awareness and self-assessment of learning are supported by educators in a culture of trust and transparency. Students can explain what they are learning, why they are learning it, and how they will demonstrate their learning. Collaboration, progress monitoring, goal setting, and reflection are ongoing based on effective feedback and evidence of learning.

Learning Pathways

Learning pathways promote educational equity through flexibility of pace and activities, instructional strategies, and student voice. Pathways support student ownership as learners strengthen, deepen, or accelerate their learning in individual areas of need or interest. Leading with transparency, educators work with learners to co-design pathways that will support students in achieving knowledge, skills, and competencies. Learners enter a progression of learning based on pre-assessed readiness levels. They navigate learning experiences adapted to meet individual goals and interests within the learner profile. Multiple, meaningful opportunities to demonstrate evidence of learning are essential in determining a learner's next steps.

Competency-Based Learning

The SC Competencies are tools for defining and measuring growth toward the World Class Knowledge, Skills and Life and Career Characteristics of the Profile of the SC Graduate through transferable skills, strategies, and processes. Competencies and standards work in partnership as a connection across disciplines to ensure academic goals and personal success skills are measurable and transferable. Learners are empowered through supports aligned to their level of prior knowledge or competence and progress at their own pace upon demonstrated mastery of a skill. Learners are offered support to reach individual potentials through timely, effective feedback and rigorous performance assessments, informing student growth.

Learner Profiles

Learner profiles drive a culture of learning and ownership. Profiles are crafted by learners and educators using a process that involves collecting real-time information including individual interests, strengths, challenges, goals, and meaningful evidence of learning. Students build awareness of themselves as learners and strive towards mastery of standards and competencies. The use of learner profiles is ongoing as students self-monitor and measure their growth within their pathways.

Flexible Learning Environments

Leading with a flexible mindset, learning experiences are designed to support learning anytime and anywhere. Within a supportive community of learners, flexible learning environments allow a safe space for decision-making and risk-taking in learning. Structural shifts and operational elements are adapted to promote educational equity and collective efficacy using a systems approach. A personalized, competency-based learning environment continuously adjusts to remain flexible and meet the needs of all learners, every day as they strive to achieve the Profile of the SC Graduate.