Moodle.org announced today that the prototypes for the Competency Based Education feature targeted for Moodle 3.1 are available now. The Competency Based Education feature includes the ability to report on specific student learning outcomes. Here's what that means for K12 (I'll write about what I think that means for Higher Ed in another post to come.)
A teacher in a 3rd grade science classroom can create a learning activity for her class and align that learning activity with a specific state standard. In fact, all student learning activities could be aligned by the teacher in the classroom with a state standard. Teachers, of course, would still be free to teach things that can't be aligned to a state standard, but that list won't be very long for most teachers.
Now, here's what that means in the broader picture. If all teachers in a district are aligning the learning activities of their students with state standards and an assessment of those learning activities appears in their Moodle learning management system, then how the students are doing relative to standards is a report that's available whenever anyone wants to run the report. That assessment can be a quiz, a score on a submitted assignment, or the teacher's more subjective evaluation of a performance of some kind by the student. When teachers record their assessments of a student's work or performance that record becomes available to all who have permission to access those records. So, a principal could run a report and see how all 3rd graders were doing on science standards, or math standards. The report would be based on learning activities created by the teacher, or that the teacher had chosen for or with the student. The report would be in real time, up to date as of the time the principal runs the report, or the teacher runs the report, or someone from the district office runs the report. Students, also, will be able to run reports on how well they're doing on the state standards, or IB requirements, or whatever set of standards or competencies they and their teachers choose to track.
This will profoundly alter assessment of learning. Now learning will be assessed at the level of teacher and student. If a district wants all of its teachers to assess a set of specific standards on a set of activities or questions, they can do it as often as they want to do it. Outside testing agencies won't be necessary, but schools could choose to use 'standardized' tests if they want. The learning activities will be assessed against the standards. The student could even choose the learning activity and propose it as fulfilling their mastery of the standard. The choice could be left up to the teacher and the student to decide. If the principal, or someone at the district, or someone at the state wants to check to see if that activity meets the standards, the artifact of the student learning and the teachers comments and assessment will be available. This is real student choice and voice in learning. This changes lots.