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

I. Introduction

II. What Is Competency Education?

A. Understanding Competency Education

B. Why Do Educators Turn to Competency Education?

III. Ramping Up for Transformation

A. Investing in Shared Leadership

1. Distributing Leadership

2. Creating a Culture of Learning

3. Empowering Others

B. Constructing a Shared Journey of Inquiry

C. Creating Shared Vision and Shared Ownership

1. Engaging the Community

2. Creating the Shared Purpose

3. Embedding Student Voice in Governance and Operations

IV. Designing the Infrastructure for Learning

A. Investing in Student Agency

1.Enabling Agency through Transparency

2. Creating Classroom Structures that Enable Student Agency

B. Clarifying the Overall Pedagogical Approach

C. Configuring the Instruction and Assessment Model

1. Establishing Overarching Competencies and Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements

2. Constructing a Common Language of Learning

a. Knowledge Taxonomy: How do you know the depth of learning and that students are developing high order skills?

b. Structure and Characteristics: What are the units of learning and how are they organized?

c. Developing a Continuum of Learning: How will content be organized within the structure?

d. Rubrics and Calibration: How will you know students are learning and what they need to reach proficiency?

e. Habits of Learning: What are the skills students need to manage their own learning, and how are they developed?

D. Forging Policies and Operating Procedures for Personalization

1. Student Agency

2. Levels, Pace, and Progress

3. Not Yet Proficient

4. Advancing Upon Mastery

E. Empowering Teachers

1. Strong Professional Learning Communities

 2. Aligned Human Resources System

a. Hiring and Orientation

b. Professional Development

c. Evaluation

d. Autonomy and Creativity

V. Transitioning to a Competency-Based System

A. Preparing for the Leadership Lifts

B. Selecting a Rollout Strategy

C. Preparing Teachers for Personalized Classrooms

D. Planning for Leveling and Parent Conversations

E. Making Mid-Course Corrections

F. Refining the Instructional Model and Enhancing the Instructional Cycle

G. Preparing for the Implementation Dip

VI. Embracing Continuous Improvement and Innovation

A. Improving Performance and Personalization through Powerful Data

B. Addressing the Needs of Struggling Students

C. Revisiting Shared Vision and Instructional Model

D. Staying the Course

VII. Concluding Comments