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Knowledge From the Field

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

Published: July 2011

Publisher(s): International Association for K-12 Online Learning; Council of Chief State School Officers

Author(s): Sturgis, Chris; Susan Patrick; Linda Pittenger

Funder(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Donnell-Kay Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Stupski Foundation

Related Organization(s): Council of Chief State School Officers

View Report (42 pages; 816KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Digital Learning


The report highlights the key issues raised at the 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit. The report considers the differences between competency-based learning and the time-based system; shares lessons learned from competency-based school designs and reforms; raises tough issues including accountability, equity, personalization, and synchronizing policy and practice; and shares insights and challenges into unlocking the education system.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=In competency-based learning, students advance upon mastery; competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives; assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience; students receive timely, differentiated support; and learning outcomes include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.

=In order to ensure an effective and equitable competency-based system, students need to be put first and approached as customers, and districts and schools must design systems around the educational needs (both academic and lifelong learning) of their students.

=Incentives need to be aligned around an outcome-based system that keeps student learning at the core of policy.

Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Competency-Based Learning; Elementary and Secondary Education; K-12; Online Learning; Performance; Personalized Learning; Policy; Proficiency; Standards; Student-Centered

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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