Technical Assistance

Survey Tool Hones In on Competency-Based Learning


Joshua Cox is the Alliance Researcher for the Northeast College and Career Readiness Research Alliance of the REL Northeast & Islands at EDC. His recent work for the Alliance has focused primarily on competency-based learning. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences published a new survey tool and guide co-authored by Joshua and his colleague Sarah Ryan that meets the growing, nationwide need to systematically examine students' experiences with competency-based learning. In this post, first published on the REL Northeast & Islands' website, Joshua discusses the new survey tool, shares the process used to develop the tool, describes the kinds of data the tool can help schools and districts collect, and describes REL Northeast & Islands resources that can support use of the tool.

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New Tool Meets Need to Systematically Examine Students' Experiences with Competency-Based Learning

Competency-Based Learning

Across the U.S., practitioners and policymakers are keenly interested in competency-based learning models of high school education. It is believed that competency-based learning models have significant potential to prepare students to succeed in college and careers and to ensure that high school graduation is based on something other than the time spent in classrooms.

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Tobie Barton

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Tobie Barton

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Tobie Barton is committed to improving the health and wellness of children and their families, and has a passion for helping organizations build their capacity to improve child health outcomes using evidence-based tools. She has extensive experience in public health, maternal and child health, and early childhood health and safety and is skilled in managing state-level public health programs, developing curricula, and planning and implementing training and technical assistance programs.

Barton works on the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, advancing best practices for linking health and early childhood systems by developing evidence-based and science-informed resources and providing training on best practices to support children’s healthy growth and development with a special focus on injury prevention. She also provides expertise on child care health consultation. She also serves as Product Manager for The Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation.

Previously, Barton was a project manager for the Mountain Plains Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Practice and Implementation Center and National Rural and Frontier Addiction Technology Transfer Center. She has also served as manager of the STD and HIV Prevention Programs for the state of Idaho, worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist for the Idaho Immunization Program, and was Curriculum Developer for the National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants.

Barton has served on the Advisory Council for the Seattle HIV/STD Prevention Training Center, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Advisory Committee for Healthy Futures: Improving Health Outcomes for Young Children, and is a current member of the Committee on the Status of Women at the University of Nevada, Reno.

She received a BA in Political Science from Swarthmore College, an MA in Social Sciences-Health and Culture from the University of Amsterdam while on a Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands, and a certificate in Maternal and Child Health Public Health Leadership from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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Senior Training and Technical Assistance Associate


Early Learning and Development

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43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313

Back to School: Finding Quality Afterschool Child Care

In her former role as project director of the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment, Sue Foley shares her expertise in this article on what programs and parents can do to facilitate a seamless transition from child care or preschool settings to school-age and aftercare settings: "Just as any family should feel welcomed in and connected with their child’s early education program, afterschool programs should meet this same expectation. Some important qualities to look for in ensuring that young school-age children will be successful in afterschool programs are highlighted in our NCASE publication, Spotlight on Quality: Low child-to-staff ratios, a positive emotional climate, a clear program structure and appropriate supervision, flexible programming and planned activities that promote autonomy and choice, and continuity with the regular school day."


Child Care Aware of America Newsroom

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Thu, 08/11/2016

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Webinar: Continuous Improvement in Ed.


Free Online Event

From 2:00-3:30, district and school leaders interested in learning about continuous improvement are invited to join EDC researchers Sheila Rodriguez and Karen Shakman for the free REL Northeast & Islands at EDC webinar, "A Practical Approach to Continuous Education." During this webinar, participants will be introduced to the continuous improvement process and the tools that guide its implementation, and le

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Partnering to Improve Early Literacy Learning in SC


In 2016, the state of South Carolina adopted EDC's Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO) Toolkit as a recommended tool for self-assessment. Nationwide, EDC provides trainings on how to use the ELLCO Pre-K and ELLCO K-3 Toolkits, and this week we are working with great groups in South Carolina.

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Midwest and Northeast States Discuss Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems

This article spotlights a recent forum organized by REL Northeast & Islands at EDC and REL Midwest that engaged states in discussing strategies, challenges, and successes related to early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS). Jacqueline Bourassa, EdD, facilitator of REL Northeast & Islands' Early Childhood Education Research Alliance said: “More progress has been made in ECIDS, and this work is the jumping off point.”


REL Midwest Newsroom

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Fri, 06/17/2016

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School-age Care and OST: A Conversation about the OST Workforce

In this article, EDC Senior Project Director Tony Streit shares his insights on the unique needs and challenges of the out-of-school time (OST) workforce and describes the mission and work of the EDC-led National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment: "We want to help people to understand the importance of the role of school-age care within the domain of out-of-school time. There doesn’t seem to be an awareness of how child care funding can be used for after-school and summer care, where funds are going and how they support child care services. Some of our goals are to examine strategies to increase access to these services and the use of child care funds for afterschool and summer programs. As well, we want to elevate quality across the board by sharing quality efforts and promising practices where there is innovation and indicators of success. … We are looking for models [nationally] for increasing access and improving quality in a range of settings to have the broadest impact."


Youth Today

Publication Date: 

Wed, 06/01/2016

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