Competency-Based Education

Covid-19 exacerbated inequities long present in public education and many students will leave this period with months of “lost learning.” Short of repeating entire courses, addressing these gaps presents a grave challenge for traditionally structured schools.

Competency-based education (CBE) is an alternate approach, which better identifies and targets individual learning needs. In CBE, learning is oriented around students mastering clearly articulated learning outcomes rather than passing time in seats.

For the last two years, we’ve advocated for a bill to explicitly authorize CBE in Minnesota (more on this below). Now we’re taking another approach: asserting Minnesota laws are highly permissive of doing CBE right now.

Our new guide, out Spring 2021, shows educators how to navigate laws, regulations, and reporting requirements as they implement CBE approaches, both this year in responding to Covid and beyond.

View the Guide

Context on Prior Legislative Initiatives

From 2018 to 2020 we advocated for bills at the Minnesota Legislature that would explicitly authorize competency-based education. Importantly, these bills did not mandate schools to implement competency-based education, but rather creates the opportunity for those who are ready. For more information, see:

Blog Posts:

Proposed legislation could spur MN schools toward more innovative, personalized pathways for student learning

Competency-based education forms the foundation of schools like Northwest Passage High School and High School for Recording Arts. We spoke to both schools to learn how their models support students for whom traditional approaches have failed.

Last week, the Minnesota Senate introduced a bill that would explicitly authorize schools and districts to do competency-based education. The bill’s purpose is to create space and opportunity for public schools to catalyze richer, more equitable, student-centered learning experiences. We break down the what and why of competency-based education—what it is and how it departs from conventional school models, and four reasons why it matters.

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