Competency education is taking root in districts and schools across the United States and around the world. Teachers and leaders are cultivating and sustaining this grassroots effort to redesign education around student success. These innovators are doing incredible work to advance powerful, personalized learning experiences for their students, arming them with the skills they need to succeed in today’s global marketplace. The transformation toward competency education is educator-led and requires strong, committed leaders who are dedicated to doing what’s best for students, as well as a deep understanding of how competency education fundamentally redesigns the education system to empower teachers and place student learning at the center.
Do you want to learn more about leading the shift toward competency education? The resources below will inform and inspire. There are resources to get you started, to guide conversations with your colleagues and communities and to support your implementation of personalized, competency education.
Recommended Reading for Understanding Competency Education
The concept behind competency education is simple: learning is best measured by mastery of content, not by the amount of time spent in a classroom. For a more comprehensive reading list on competency education, see the list from CompetencyWorks.
- Delivering on the Promise: The Education Revolution, by Richard DeLorenzo, Wendy J. Battino, Rick M. Schreiber, Barbara Gaddy Carrio
- The Past and the Promise: Today’s Competency-Based Education Movement, by Cecelia Le, Rebecca Wolfe, Adria Steinberg
- Equity in Competency Education: Realizing the Potential, Overcoming the Obstacles, by Matthew W. Lewis, Rick Eden, Chandra garber, Mollie Rudnick, Lucrecia Santibañez and Tiffany Tsai
- A New Model of Student Assessment for the 21st Century, by Camille A. Farrington and Margaret H. Small
- When Success is the Only Option: Designing Competency-Based Pathways for Next Generation Learning, by Chris Sturgis and Susan Patrick
- Blending Toward Competency: A Closer Look at Blended Learning in New Hampshire, by Julia Freeland Fischer
- Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education, by Susan Patrick, Kathryn Kennedy and Allison Powell
- It’s Not a Matter of Time–Highlights from the 2011 Competency-Based Summit, by Chris Sturgis, Linda Pittenger and Susan Patrick
- Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning, by Charles Schwahn and Beatrice McGarvey
- The Shift from Cohorts to Competency, by John Bailey, Karla Phillips, Carri Schneider, Chris Sturgis and Tom Vander Ark
Recommended Reading for Leading Through Change
The transformation toward competency education requires strong leadership with a commitment to change management and innovation for equity. These resources offer an overview of various perspectives on leading through change.
- The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness, by Todd Rose (Spoiler alert: Author Todd Rose will be keynoting at the iNACOL Symposium this year.)
- The One World Schoolhouse: Education Re-imagined, by Salman Khan
- 7 Key Competencies for Whole System Change, by Lyle Kirtman and Michael Fullan
- Leaders of Learning: How District, School, and Classroom Leaders Improve Student Achievement, by Richard DuFour and Robert J. Marzano
- Leading Change, by Dr. John P. Kotter
- Leadership Without Easy Answers, by Ronald A. Heifetz
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck
- How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Power of Character, by Paul Tough
- The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need and What We Can Do About It, by Tony Wagner
- Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (Issues of Our Time), by Claude M. Steele
- Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, by Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker
- Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
- How Lincoln Learned to Read: Twelve Great Americans and the Educations That Made Them, by Daniel Wolff
- Total Leaders: Applying the Best Future-Focused Change Strategies to Education, by Charles Schwahn and William Spady
- Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading, by Ronald A. Heifitz and Martin Linsky
- Good Leaders ask Great Questions, by John Maxwell
- Building a New Structure for School Leadership, by Richard F. Elmore
- Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd Edition), by Robert Marzano
If you’ve read any of the above resources, which would you recommend? What other books or articles advance the core ideas of leading through change and competency education? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or tag us on Twitter (@nacol), Facebook or LinkedIn.
Interested in learning more about competency education? Join our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, April 20 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET to glean promising practices and lessons learned from leaders and practitioners transitioning to competency education. Registration is free—register here to receive login details.