- Brian Stack, principal of Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston, NH, writes for The Hechinger Report that exposure to competency-based education can give students an advantage in college.
- While some parents are skeptical about the value of competency-based education, Stack says students benefit from learning at their own pace, getting instruction based on measurable and transferrable learning objectives, taking more meaningful assessments, getting differentiated support from teachers, and developing career-ready skills and dispositions.
- Many colleges have embraced competency-based education and are familiar with newer transcripts that track student progress, meaning students won’t have to worry about any trouble in the application process, and any high school exposure could set them up for an easy transition to their future college’s own competency-based programs.
Competency-based education programs are exploding in popularity at colleges and universities nationwide. Post-secondary schools see them as important ways to serve the needs of today’s average college student, who is no longer the traditional recent high school graduate, but instead an adult with work and family commitments. Competency-based programs prize mastery of concrete skills rather than seat time. Traditional high schools, organized around semesters and academic years, with school calendars subject to state legislation, will have a hard time shifting, in some ways.
Still, alternative models are popping up. Students progress through their courses at the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School in New Hampshire by mastering competencies. Standards-based grading is geared toward assessing students based on their mastery of specific skills, rather than incorporating behavior, attendance and homework into the grade. And the Facebook-backed Summit Personalized Learning Platform has gained attention for its self-paced, personalized model.