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Competencies are the knowledge, skills, and/or behaviors students must master in a specific content or performance area.
What are the competencies that each student must master to earn their diploma? Ideally, competencies are organized conceptually, and written as power standards . Power standards have supporting objectives, that outline the basic understanding of the major ideas within the discipline.
Disciplines /Branches of Disciplines
Organized around conceptual themes, big categories
Evidenced in a portfolio
Documented in a portfolio assessment
Competency /Power Standard
Written for endurance
Performed in an authentic learning application 
Documented in a competency assessment with a competency-specific rubric
Support students' ability to demonstrate proficiency in competencies/power standards
Documented through targeted (formative and summative) assessments
1. Ainsworth, Larry,
Power Standards: Identifying the Standards that Matter the Most
. Lead and Learn Press, 2003
2. Mathematics, Science and History vs. Civics, Biology and Geometry
3. Of value beyond a single test date
4. Of value in multiple disciplines
5. Necessary for success in next level of instruction
6. Authentic assessment requires a) construction of knowledge through b) the use of disciplined inquiry that c) has some value or meaning beyond success in school (Newmann, Secada, and Wehlage, 1995)
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