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Aurora Institute

Creating an education system that prepares every student to succeed requires systemic transformation to high-quality, personalized, competency-based education.


Today, the prevailing traditional, one-size-fits-all K-12 education model is not meeting the unique needs of learners. To prepare all students for success in the future economy requires whole-system transformation through thoughtful, but deliberate, policy actions. Fully developed, student-centered systems require significant shifts in policy and practice. No matter where a state is starting from, there are various entry points along a continuum for policymakers to support and build competency-based education systems (CBE). An important first step is to create space in state policy for practitioners and educators to redesign learning. Such policies could, for example, provide seat-time flexibility, create CBE pilots or establish innovation zones.

Continuously improving on the goals of the education system, including the role of teachers and students, the use of time, the purpose and nature of assessments, the allocation of resources, learning model designs and the role of schools within the broader context of the community, is necessary to achieve lasting change. States that do not yet have any enabling policies in place may wish to take one or two incremental, initial steps to create space for new learning models. A state that already has made some progress may be contemplating some bolder, more comprehensive steps toward transformation. There are various entry points that policymakers could use to catalyze transformation of K-12 education in their states.


  • States can partner with stakeholders to craft a vision for the purpose and future of their education systems.
  • State leaders can build capacity within educators and school leaders to transform learning environments to meet the needs of every student.
  • State leaders can create space and supports for competency-based, personalized learning models designed with equity in mind.
Related COntent


January 1, 2018

Current to Future State: Issues and Action Steps for State Policy to Support Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

Dale Frost, Maria Worthen, Natalie Truong, Susan Patrick


January 1, 2018

Fit for Purpose: Taking the Long View on Systems Change and Policy to Support Competency Education

Dale Frost, Maria Worthen, Natalie Truong, Susan Patrick


May 1, 2016

Promising State Policies for Personalized Learning

Dale Frost, Maria Worthen, Susan Gentz, Susan Patrick

Issue Brief

January 1, 2019

2019 State Policy Priorities

Maria Worthen, Natalie Truong, Susan Patrick


April 4, 2018

Action Steps for State Policymakers to Support Competency-Based Systems

Dale Frost, Maria Worthen, Natalie Truong, Susan Patrick