Spotlight on Competency Based Education from iNACOL

International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)


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.


CompetencyWorks - Puzzle

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 Education – Nellie Mae Education Foundation >> download

Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education – iNACOL >> download

When Success is the Only Option: Designing Competency-based Pathways for Next Generation Learning – iNACOL >> download

The Shift from Cohorts to Competency – Digital Learning Now & Getting Smart >> download

Implementing Competency Education

Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education – CompetencyWorks >> download

The Art and Science of Designing Competencies – CompetencyWorks >> download

Re-Engineering Information Technology: Design Considerations for Competency Education – CompetencyWorks >> download

Policy Considerations

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

Necessary for Success: A State Policymakers Guide to Competency Education –CompetencyWorks >> download

Competency Education Series: Policy Brief One – KnowledgeWorks >> download

From Policy to Practice: How Competency-Based Education Is Evolving in New Hampshire – Christensen Institute >> download


Learner-Centered Instruction in Action – Maine Department of Education >> watch

What Is Competency-Based Education? – Nellie Mae Education Foundation >> watch

Transforming Education – Lindsay Unified School District >> watch

Iowa BIG – Animation Overview – Cedar Rapids Community School District >> watch

MCL: Lori Schedules Her Learning Plan – Mass Customized Learning >> watch


Find more publications, videos and archived webinars focused on competency education at and 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 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium in Palm Springs, CA – November 4-7, 2014.

2014 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium

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