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Competency Education Policy

Building capacity for systems change

Depending on the state or district, competency education may be called proficiency-based, performance based, standards-based, or mastery-based education. Although the terminology can vary, these approaches have in common the elements of competency education. Below is the working definition of competency education developed at the 2011 Competency-Based learning Summit hosted by iNACOL and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO):

  • Students advance upon mastery
  • Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students
  • Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students
  • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs
  • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.

Access resources to help inform and advance conversations to build capacity for systems change and a paradigm shift in education where learning is the constant and time is the variable:

Embracing the Opportunity: Recommendations for Scaling Personalized Learning Under a New Presidential Administration
KnowledgeWorks provides four sets of federal recommendations for enabling personalized learning at scale, including detailed strategies to help the Administration create a robust education policy platform.
A Visioning Toolkit for Better Assessments
The Visioning Toolkit for Better Assessments helps stakeholders explore new assessment provisions under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and deepen their understanding of assessment models that are now possible under the law.
Recommendations for Advancing Personalized Learning Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
ESSA presents states with an unprecedented opportunity to transform their approach to teaching and learning, but also has the potential to jeopardize success if implementation is not high quality. This guidance will help states identify and explore these opportunities as they begin to design their state’s approach to implementation of ESSA.
New Opportunities to Advance Personalized Learning in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
This documents helps to draw attention to the new opportunities under ESSA so stakeholders are inspired to explore personalized learning elements as they begin to design and advocate for systems change.
A State Policy Framework for Scaling Personalized Learning
This policy framework guides states and districts in working together to create flexibility to support scaling personalized learning.

View all of our competency education policy resources.

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