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.