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Competency-Based Approach To Education

NEIA believes in the power of empathy, curiosity, and collaboration to transform people’s lives and positively affect change in the world. For clarity and equity, assignments are designed and assessed through our Competency-Based Education system.

Overview

  • Teachers create each assessed assignment through a lens of their subject-area competencies and pillars competencies that can be measured throughout a student’s entire educational process. 

  • NEIA determines assessments to best support student learning.

  • Our approach enables innovators to take charge of their learning while they work towards a standard set of learning goals.

  • NEIA’s grade conversion system ensures all student’s grades are comprised of multiple data points throughout their entire year (and career) at NEIA.

New England Innovation Academy (NEIA) is committed to providing an innovative, relevant, and future-focused learning experience. Our concept of student growth is based on understanding the vital role of feedback, practice, application, self-evaluation, and demonstration. We root our Competency-Based pedagogical approach in equity, agency, and adaptability.

Our competencies are curated skills that uphold our pillars and assess our students’ (innovators’) understanding and application of key concepts and skills covered in the classroom. At NEIA, competencies are concepts, skills, or specific knowledge essential to completing a course.

According to John Camp, Head of Teaching & Learning and Humanities Teacher at NEIA, “Our value is placing the learning over the grade. Our goal is for innovators to understand that [our competency-based education system] focuses on processing their learning and the skills they need.”

Teachers create each assessed assignment through a lens of their subject-area competencies and pillars competencies that can be measured throughout a student’s entire educational process at NEIA, wherever and whenever the skills are employed, on or off campus. 

Teachers intentionally inform innovators which competencies (i.e., skills) will be assessed for each assignment. While subject areas have a targeted group of three specific competencies, innovators are also evaluated in our school-wide competencies (pillars competencies) that apply to all areas.

“It’s not about getting points for doing a worksheet. It’s about enhancing your skills while doing the worksheet so you can better the summative assessment,” Camp noted.

NEIA determines assessments to best support student learning. Our assessment system includes multiple assessment types, such as portfolios, demonstrations of knowledge, formatives, and summative assignments. Assessment results are meant to inform innovators and their network of educators of student progress and areas of needed attention.

“NEIA’s competency-based grading system is more of an equity system as it allows innovators to demonstrate their skills and understanding of subject matter,” Camp added.

Our approach to competency-based education enables innovators to take charge of their learning while they work towards a standard set of learning goals. Innovators receive meaningful progress feedback and support as they achieve those goals. They show their understanding of a subject by presenting evidence, such as a paper or project, demonstrating what they know and can apply.

Student assignments are assessed by displaying an “Unknown,” “Surface,” “Immersed,” or  “Deep” understanding of each competency or learning outcome. A “Surface” or “Immersed” understanding does not mean innovators have failed, only that they have more learning to do while building the skill.

According to Marie Assir, Director of College Counseling, “the competency-based feedback encourages our innovators to consistently reinvest in their own education, developing skills to read critically and think broadly. As our innovators head out into the world,  I am confident that these skills will elevate the classroom discussion at the university level.”

Regarding transcripts and letter grades, NEIA’s competencies are converted into a letter grade for official transcripts. 

Camp continues, “Innovators receive letter grades, but not every quarter like traditional schools. NEIA’s grade conversion system ensures all student’s grades are comprised of multiple data points throughout their entire year (and career) at NEIA, instead of just one data point, and they get to see their progress from Day 1 to graduation.”

PURSUE YOUR DREAMS AND SHAPE A BETTER WORLD

Join the next generation of innovators in grades 6-12. We’ll keep you informed of future events and updates. Fill out this form, register for our December 10 Special Saturday Tour, or schedule a middle school or upper school visit.