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Aurora Institute

What’s New in K-12 Competency Education?

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Natalie Slocum

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

What's new! star graphicSchool Designs

Grade Levels

  • New Hampshire is moving beyond grade levels and graded assessments through a new program called NG2 (no grades, no grades), with seven participating elementary schools.
  • Incoming freshmen at Windsor Locks (CT) will be the first class to graduate under a proficiency-based approach, which forgoes letter grades and asks students to demonstrate mastery of skills.

High School Transcripts


Updates in New Hampshire

  • A researcher found that students in PACE districts outperformed their peers in non-participating districts across the board, starting in the second year of the program’s implementation. But the her most notable finding? Special education students in PACE districts did basically as well as students who weren’t on special education plans.
  • Tom Raffio, former State Board of Education chairman, reflects on important changes in New Hampshire’s education system over the last ten years.
  • New Hampshire’s Parker-Varney school released an excellent case study, Putting Kids at the Center: Building Parker-Varney’s Future of Learning, which shares their vision and journey toward competency education.

Updates in Maine

States Exploring Competency Education

Teacher Collaboration

  • KnowledgeWorks shares what teacher collaboration can look like in competency-based models, including a video from Marysville Exempted Village School District (Ohio).


  • Digital Promise and Education Elements released the Competency-based Education (CBE) Toolkit, the culmination of over a year’s work in ten forward-thinking school districts who are sharing lessons learned from their CBE implementation journey. The toolkit shares highly actionable advice and thoughtful reflection from the contributing districts, and is intended to help other district leaders and teachers at any phase in the CBE implementation journey.
  • The Center for Collaborative Education and Essential Personalized Learning released a white paper, A Vision for Personalized Learning in Massachusetts.
  • LEAP Innovations released the second edition of the LEAP Learning Framework, designed to define and guide the implementation of personalized learning in K-12 schools. The new release includes strategies for the fourth component of the Framework, “Learner Connected,” which helps teachers create real-world learning experiences for students.
  • Marzano released A Handbook for Personalized Competency-Based Education, which explores approaches, strategies, and techniques that schools and districts should consider as they begin their transition to a personalized, competency-based system. The authors share examples of how to use proficiency scales, standard operating procedures, behavior rubrics, personal tracking matrices, and other tools to aid in instruction and assessment.

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