CompetencyWorks: A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change

A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education:
Building Capacity for Systems Change


Susan Patrick of iNACOL, Chris Sturgis of MetisNet, Matt Williams of KnowledgeWorks and Paul Leather of the New Hampshire Department of Education provided invaluable guidance, feedback, and expertise. We are grateful to Sajan George of Matchbook Learning and David Ruff of the Great Schools Partnership for their substantive contributions. Many individuals contributed their time and knowledge to review and provide valuable feedback on early drafts of this paper, among them: Cory Curl of Achieve, Sandra Dop of the Iowa Department of Education, Julia Freeland and Michael Horn of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, Lindsay Jones of the National Center on Learning Disabilities, Beth Miller and Charlie Toulmin of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Jesse Moyer of KnowledgeWorks, Jenny Poon of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Kate Tromble of the Education Trust, and Rebecca Wolfe and Kathryn Young of Jobs for the Future.

New report from iNACOL and KnowledgeWorks provides guidance for next generation ESEA

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and KnowledgeWorks have released a new report on competency education which provides federal policymakers with a comprehensive vision for supporting state and local efforts to implement student-centered learning. A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change describes barriers and opportunities within federal education policy frameworks and identifies how the federal government is in a unique position to catalyze and scale student-centered learning approaches. As lawmakers in Washington, DC craft a next generation Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), they are encouraged to take bold steps forward to allow students to advance upon demonstrated mastery and receive the personalized support they need, when they need it, to ensure America’s children graduate from high school both college and career ready.

“The world is rapidly changing, and we must ensure that our education system prepares every student to succeed, no matter where they live or what challenges they face,” said co-author Maria Worthen, iNACOL’s Vice President for Federal and State Policy. “It is time to move away from traditional assumptions about how schools should look, how teachers should teach, and how students should learn. The purpose of this report is to start a dialogue on these issues, posing important questions to explore as policymakers contemplate a new vision for federal education policy through the next reauthorization of ESEA.”

“We must take a serious step to reframe quality, accountability, and access to ensure that each and every student is prepared for their future,” said Lillian Pace, report co-author and Senior Director of National Policy for KnowledgeWorks. “A growing number of districts and states have begun to think about the next step to increase equity, rigor, and relevance in the system, and their success rests heavily on federal adoption of a new student-centered policy framework that will advance the growth of competency education. The next reauthorization of ESEA must remove the barriers and disincentives that stand in the way of student-centered learning.”

To download a copy of A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change, please visit

For more information about competency-based education, please visit

For more information about iNACOL, please visit

For more information about KnowledgeWorks, please visit

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