An International Study in Competency Education: Postcards from Abroad

New report highlights components of competency education in international practice

A new report released today by CompetencyWorks, An International Study in Competency Education: Postcards from Abroad, seeks to highlight components of competency education in international practice and inform U.S. policymakers and decision makers seeking to implement high-quality competency pathways at the state or local level. While it is commonplace for states to look to each other for promising practices, increasingly, education leaders are finding both inspiration and answers through the work of colleagues around the world.

Written by Sara Frank Bristow, Founder of Salient Research, and Susan Patrick, President and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), the report provides a lesson in the international vocabulary of competency education and a review of global trends that complement the efforts of educators in the United States to improve performance and increase equitable outcomes. Bristow and Patrick survey the globe, discovering practices from Finland, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, and beyond that can inform U.S. leaders.

“Acknowledging that national borders need not constrain our thinking, we have examined a selection of alternative academic cultures and innovative education policies in search of solutions to common challenges faced in the U.S.,” said co-author Sara Frank Bristow. “In this study, we analyze ways in which a selection of high-performing countries are investing in a shift towards personalization and competency education.”

Policymakers and educators abroad are exploring diverse ways of structuring teaching and learning in both time and space. Many of these reflect the very trends we now see in the United States towards learner-centered, personalized education, including: curriculum redesign, integration of performance-based learning assessments, student well-being, redesigned learning environments, and a global outlook.

“Almost without exception, education leaders across major world economies share the same goals: to improve student performance and increase equitable outcomes,” said co-author Susan Patrick. “As the economy becomes increasingly globalized, nations are increasingly interconnected. Other countries are studying our innovations. We must also study theirs to ensure we aim to provide a world-class education for each and every student.”

To download a copy of An International Study in Competency Education: Postcards from Abroad, please click here.

A companion webinar will be presented by Sara Frank Bristow and Susan Patrick on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 from 3:00pm – 4:00pm ET. Please register to receive final details and login information.

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