The Shift from Cohorts to Competency
Originally published January 2013, updated and re-released Summer 2015
Authored by: John Bailey, Karla Phillips, Carri Schneider, Chris Sturgis, Tom Vander Ark
Download the full paper
This paper is one of nine in the DLN Smart Series – a collection of interactive papers that provides specific guidance regarding the adoption of higher standards and quality assessments focusing on the shift to personal digital learning.
“The Shift from Cohort to Competency” explores the shift from seat time to demonstrated mastery. For generations students have been passed from grade to grade without mastering foundational skills. Other students are held restricted to grade-level work that is too easy or previously-mastered. This paper outlines how schools and districts can ensure every student gains the necessary skills to graduate college and careers by shifting to competency-based education.
Demonstrations of competency are often required to demonstrate learning outside of the K-12 classroom– driver’s licensure, professional certifications, doctoral degrees, legal training, and more. Authors purpose that today’s education system should be based on similar competency-based principles. Creating ways for students to “show what they know” will empower students across the learning spectrum to advance at their own personalized pace.
In addition to the white paper, we’ve also created a series of mini PDF resources, all available here:
- What is Competency-Based Learning?
- 10 New Capabilities of a Competency-Aligned System
- 10 Competency-Based Learning Design Choices
- Competency-Based Learning State Policy Checklist
- Competency-Based Learning FAQs
- How Does Competency Education Improve Student Achievement and School Performance?
Download “The Shift from Cohorts to Competency“