Defining and Creating Competencies

Personalized, competency-based learning centers each students’ strengths, needs and interests and provides differentiated ways to demonstrate what they know and know how to do, ensuring each learner graduates ready for what’s next.

What is a competency?

Competencies express the most critical outcomes learners need to thrive in a changing world. Competencies are the interrelated knowledge, skills and dispositions that are relevant, measurable and transferable and can be applied throughout a learner’s lifetime.

Learn more and find out about the design considerations necessary when creating competencies for your learning community.

Why is developing a shared vision critical?

A learning community may be a single school, a district or a state – and a shared vision at the state level unlocks possibilities for policy innovation that are not possible without it.

Learn more about a tool many communities use to establish their shared vision.

How many competencies should be included in the system?

A focused set of six competencies for your learning community supports the implementation of personalized, competency-based learning. It makes it easier to unpack and contextualize the competencies across local communities, subjects and grade bands, as well as enabling local ownership and increasing momentum for implementation.

Learn more about why focusing in on the right number of competencies support teaching and learning.

How should competencies be organized?

Competencies should be unpacked into a continuum that details how learners will progress toward mastery of the competency. This is called a learning continuum. Because competencies are broad and cross-disciplinary, they should be organized by levels or grade bands, rather than single subject areas or individual grades.

Learn how to ensure learning continuums are inclusive from early childhood to life after high school.

How will you ensure quality in the development and refinement of the competency continua?

Learning communities need to identify competencies and design their learning continuum, bringing diverse voices into the design, feedback and continuous improvement process. Inclusivity is key to ensuring that the community builds ownership and shared accountability for the implementation of the competency learning continuum at all levels of the system.

Learn four strategies for ensuring quality in the development of the competency learning continuum.