Introduction to Compass theory

When a student goes through a programme of study, they enter with some background knowledge and skills, and leave with (we hope) significant advances in ability and understanding.  In some programmes (like engineering or medicine), there are entry requirements in certain areas (like maths or sciences), but in many programmes no previous knowledge is enforced by entry requirements, though it may be assumed.  The first step to planning a programme is to understand these starting and ending points and the skills and subject matter associated with them.  The next step is to define the kinds of skills in more detail.  Together, these constitute the trajectories of the programme.  Thirdly, we’ll add in some way-points, because we all know that learning is not a step change from start to finish, but a series of smaller steps of development and progress.  The way-points are known as milestones.  Finally, we’ll think about hidden skills or access skills needed by the students in order to participate in this development.

Each of the pages below explains the theory underpinning the methodology of Compass, and outlines the tasks to be accomplished at that step.  There is documentation regarding the practicalities of how to perform these tasks inside Compass, as well as outside it if you’re a pen-and-paper kind of person.

Either way, let’s get started!

  1. Understanding trajectories
  2. Understanding milestones
  3. Understanding constructive alignment
  4. Understanding assessments, activities, and access skills