The Foundation's research contributes to greater understanding among educators, practitioners and policymakers of the change required to reshape our education system.

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Quality and Equity by Design: Charting the Course for the Next Phase of Competency-Based Education


October 2017

How can the education field best advance through the next wave of competency-based learning innovation and implementation?

Tags: College & Career Readiness, Competency-Based Education

CBE 360 Survey Toolkit

American Institutes for Research (AIR)

September 2017

This toolkit is designed to help schools and districts gather high-quality formative data to gauge progress towards and guide improvement efforts across various stages of competency education implementation. 

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Curriculum & Instruction

An Introduction to the National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education

Chris Sturgis and Susan Patrick

June 2017

This paper provides an overview of the goals of the National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education, the four papers that form the basis of discussion at the Summit, and a glossary of terms used in the four papers.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Equity

Online Courses For Credit Recovery In High Schools: Effectiveness And Promising Practices

UMass Donahue Institute

April 2017

How effective is online credit recovery at increasing student engagement and achievement?

Tags: Assessment, College & Career Readiness, Competency-Based Education

Low-Stakes Completion-Based Funding: A New Approach to Financing Competency-Based Education

Florida SouthWestern State College

November 2016

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Governance & Finance

Looking Under The Hood Of Competency-Based Education

American Institutes for Research

June 2016

What is the relationship between competency-based education practices and students’ learning skills, behaviors, and dispositions?

Tags: Competency-Based Assessment, Competency-Based Education

A Qualitative Study of Student-Centered Learning Practices in New England High Schools

Gabriel Reif, M.Ed., Greta Shultz, Ed.D. and Steven Ellis, M.P.A.

April 2016

What does student-centered learning look like in New England high schools?

Tags: Competency-Based Education, personalization, Student Voice & Agency

Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-Centered Teaching

Jobs for the Future and the Council of Chief State School Officers

August 2015

This document serves as a first step in identifying the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that educators need in order to create and thrive in effective personalized, learner-centered environments.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Personalization

Implementing Competency Education in K–12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders

Chris Sturgis

June 2015

This paper describes effective strategies to convert traditional, one-size-fits-all models of education into more personalized, competency-based learning environments to meet students' needs.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Curriculum and Instruction, personalization

Online Courses for Credit Recovery: Promising Practices for High School Teachers

University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

March 2015

This brief highlights findings from a study of 12 Massachusetts high schools with high dropout rates that developed online credit recovery programs as part of the "MassGrad" initiative.

Tags: Assessment, Competency-Based Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Learning Time, Technology

Maximizing Competency Education and Blended Learning: Insights from Experts

Susan Patrick and Chris Sturgis

March 2015

Blended learning can be a powerful tool in a competency-based curriculum, allowing for deeper, more personalized student learning.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Personalization

Building Consensus and Momentum: A Policy and Political Landscape for K-12 Competency Education

Lillian Pace, Jesse Moyer, and Matt Williams

February 2015

The rise of competency education will require policy change at many levels to remove time-based barriers that make it difficult to build a student-centered education system.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Policy

Equity in Competency Education: Realizing the Potential, Overcoming the Obstacles

RAND Education and Jobs for the Future

November 2014

This paper examines the equity concerns in competency education through the lens of family income - exploring the effects and implications, as well as proposing potential mitigations.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Equity

An International Study in Competency Education: Postcards From Abroad

Susan Patrick and Sara Frank Bristow

October 2014

Many countries are taking steps away from a time-based educational structure to one based upon personalization and competency.

Tags: Competency-Based Education

The Past and the Promise: Today's Competency Education Movement

Cecilia Le, Rebecca E. Wolfe and Adria Steinberg

September 2014

Competency education is attracting significant interest as a promising way to help meet our national priority of ensuring that all young people are ready for college and careers.

Tags: College and Career Readiness, Competency-Based Education, Learning Time

Leadership in Action: What is Proficiency-Based Grading?

New England Secondary School Consortium

February 2014

Proficiency-based grades incentivize students to work harder and learn more because progress and effort are recognized and rewarded.

Tags: Assessment, Competency-Based Education

Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education

Chris Sturgis

January 2014

Our A-F grading scheme is undermining the very core purpose of our education system: learning.

Tags: Assessment, Competency-Based Education

Necessary for Success: Building Mastery of World-Class Skills – A State Policymakers Guide to Competency Education

Susan Patrick and Chris Sturgis

February 2013

A modern education system should center on mastery rather than ticking off hours spent at a desk. This issue brief shares insights into re-engineering the policy and practices of the K-12 system to be more student-centered.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Governance & Finance, Policy, Teachers & School Leaders

Re-Engineering Information Technology Design Considerations for Competency Education

Liz Glowa and Susan Patrick

February 2013

This brief examines components and elements of effective competency-based information systems.

Tags: Competency-Based Education

The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in a Competency-Based Learning Environment

Laura Shubilla and Chris Sturgis

December 2012

Competency-based education requires a system of supports that meet students’ individual needs as they work toward proficiency.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Policy

Making Mastery Work

Nora Priest, Antonia Rudenstine and Ephraim Weisstein

November 2012

Best practices from K-12 schools implementing personalized approaches to learning.

Tags: Competency-Based Education

Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century

James Pellegrino

October 2012

Deeper learning—a process by which students acquire critical thinking, self-management, and communication skills, among other 21st century competencies—is positively tied to future health, education, and work.

Tags: 21st Century Skills, College Readiness, Competency-Based Education

The Art and Science of Designing Competencies

Chris Sturgis

July 2012

Competencies, learning objectives that foster lifelong skills and opportunities for growth, facilitate deeper knowledge and assessment than traditional time-based measurements.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Teachers & School Leaders

Assessing Learning

Heidi Andrade, Kristen Huff, and Georgia Brooke

April 2012

Student-centered assessments should be individualized, motivate and engage students, and focus on learning and growth.

Tags: Assessment, Competency-Based Education, Governance & Finance, Policy

Quality Performance Assessment: Harnessing the Power of Teacher and Student Learning

Christina Brown and Pascale Mevs

February 2012

Quality performance assessments can provide a deep portrait of student mastery for schools and educators. This 2012 report details examples of schools using performance assessment systems and provides a framework and essential elements for implementation.

Tags: Assessment, Competency-Based Education, Curriculum & Instruction

Cracking the Code: Synchronizing Policy and Practice for Performance-Based Learning

Susan Patrick and Chris Sturgis

July 2011

Just as there are multiple pathways for students to learn, there are multiple pathways for states to create room for innovation in education policy.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Governance & Finance, Learning Time, Policy

It's Not a Matter of Time: Highlights from the 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit

Chris Sturgis, Susan Patrick, and Linda Pittenger

July 2011

This report summarizes the key issues discussed at the March 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Curriculum & Instruction, Learning Time

Leadership in Action: What is a Proficiency-Based Diploma?

New England Secondary School Consortium

May 2011

Some students leave high school knowing calculus, while others still struggle with basic math. How can we make sure every student graduates prepared?

Tags: College & Career Readiness, Competency-Based Education, Learning Time

When Success is the Only Option: Designing Competency-Based Pathways for Next Generation Learning

Chris Sturgis and Susan Patrick

November 2010

Competency-based education has the potential to re-engineer education systems so that failure is no longer an option for students.

Tags: Competency-Based Education, Governance & Finance, Policy