Summer Spotlight: Competency Based Education

WorldWise Learning

This summary of competency-based learning from iNACOL is a great introduction and overview about one of the most exciting trends in teaching and learning.
Frequently, competency education is described as simply flexibility in awarding credit or defined as an alternative to the Carnegie unit. Yet, this does not capture the depth of the transformation of our education system from a time-based system to a learning-based system. Competency education also holds promise as districts explore new ways to expand and enrich support to students, challenging the assumption that learning takes place within the classroom. Competency-based approaches are being used at all ages from elementary school to graduate school level, focusing the attention of teachers, students, parents, and the broader community on students mastering measurable learning topics.
Competency Based Education
As part of iNACOL’s Summer Spotlight Series, we’ve gathered together some of our favorite learning materials to help you explore competency education more deeply as you consider the upcoming school year and the ongoing transformation toward personalized learning.

Understanding Competency Education

Making Mastery Work: A Close-Up View of Competency EducationNellie Mae Education Foundation
Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency EducationiNACOL
When Success is the Only Option: Designing Competency-based Pathways for Next Generation LearningiNACOL
The Shift from Cohorts to CompetencyDigital Learning Now & Getting Smart

Implementing Competency Education

Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency EducationCompetencyWorks
The Art and Science of Designing CompetenciesCompetencyWorks
Re-Engineering Information Technology: Design Considerations for Competency EducationCompetencyWorks

Policy Considerations

A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems ChangeCompetencyWorks
Necessary for Success: A State Policymakers Guide to Competency Education – CompetencyWorks
Competency Education Series: Policy Brief OneKnowledgeWorks
From Policy to Practice: How Competency-Based Education Is Evolving in New HampshireChristensen Institute

Additional Resources

Learner-Centered Instruction in ActionMaine Department of Education
What Is Competency-Based Education?Nellie Mae Education Foundation
Transforming EducationLindsay Unified School District
Iowa BIG – Animation OverviewCedar Rapids Community School District
MCL: Lori Schedules Her Learning PlanMass Customized Learning
Find more publications, videos and archived webinars focused on competency education at and
Sign up to receive monthly updates from CompetencyWorks with information about new resources, emerging innovations and upcoming events focused on competency education.
Subscribe to Plugged In, iNACOL’s daily email sharing media coverage of education innovation, new learning models, research, policy and trends from the field.
For a dedicated conference track exploring competency education and deep dive into the ways personalized learning is transforming schools across the country and around the world, register to attend the annual iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium.

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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