- Digital Promise and Education Elements have released a new CBE Toolkit detailing best practices from 10 school districts utilizing competency-based learning, eSchool News reports.
- The toolkit breaks down what the districts have learned in six areas: stakeholder outreach and input; curriculum and instruction; standards and assessment; infrastructure and policy; support, staff and scheduling, and a series of videos detailing leaders' insight and advice.
- The districts involved are members of Digital Promise's League of Innovative Schools, which includes 87 districts in 33 states, and their lessons learned are intended to be presented in a way that is scalable for anyone looking to implement CBE in their own district.
Competency-based education operates under the premise that seat time isn't the best way to measure a student's mastery of a skill or subject, relying instead on their ability to demonstrate that mastery firsthand whenever they're prepared to do so. The model can allow schools to offer more personalized, self-paced learning, giving students who are behind additional support to catch up while those who are ahead can advance. Ideally, this results in students at both ends of the spectrum remaining engaged.
In 2015, an iNACOL report found 42 states either planning, piloting or implementing such programs. And a 2016 study of schools from the American Institutes for Research found that, despite uneven implementation across schools examined, CBE practices improved students' intrinsic motivation, helped them develop self-regulated learning skills, improved their perceptions of mastery in math and English, and boosted their preparation skills.
The approach has perhaps been popular longer on the higher ed front, where it's seen as a means of offering more affordable, less time-intensive options for learners — especially working adults looking to gain new skills and pivot in their careers. The premise has, in part, contributed to the rise of many alternative credentialing models, like coding boot camps and MOOCs.