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Aurora Institute

Summertime is Writing Time

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, How to Get Started

Go swimming or write a post for CWorks!

It’s getting warmer, and it’s time to think about what we want to accomplish this summer.  For principals and teachers who don’t have a moment to themselves during the school year, we hope that you will put aside a little time to write a post for CompetencyWorks about what you learned about competency education this year so your colleagues can learn from your experiences.  As always, if you have examples and resources, we can put them on the wiki.

We want you to write about what is important to you. But if you need a few ideas to get you thinking, below are some of the questions for educators and principals that have been raised during the year.

Add your questions in the comments section; maybe we can find just the right person to answer them.

For educators:

  • How do you manage a personalized, proficiency-based classroom? How is it different in comparison to a traditional classroom?
  • How do you give students voice and choice?  What do you need to do to make that happen? What is a capacity matrix?
  • What do you do when a student doesn’t have the prerequisite knowledge for your class? What happens if a student just doesn’t seem to be reaching proficiency?
  • What do you do when a student isn’t keeping up with the “teacher pace”?
  • How do you determine if a student is proficient in a learning target? Isn’t there a lot of testing in competency-based education?
  • Do you have to focus on one learning target at a time? Is there enough time to do that in a class?
  • Is there anything different in how you support ELL and special education students in proficiency-based classrooms?


For principals:

  • How do you keep grouping from becoming tracking?
  • What type of supports do educators need to succeed in a competency-based environment?
  • I keep hearing about a “growth mindset.” How does this change the job of the principal and the operation of a school?
  • How have you changed your operations (scheduling, budgeting, metrics, etc.) to support competency-based learning?
  • Have you been seeing results? What might we expect to see in terms of student achievement and other indicators if we start using competency-based approaches?
  • What are parents’ greatest concerns and how do you respond to them?


Thanks to everyone who contributes a post. You are making a huge difference by sharing your knowledge.   We know transparency is one of the core values of  the competency-based approached. We need to bring more and more transparency to our learning of how to implement competency-based education as well.