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Aurora Institute

Press Release

Aurora Institute Illuminates a Path Forward for Competency-Based Practice and Systemic Transformation in New Report from CompetencyWorks

Washington D.C. (Sept. 29, 2021) – Today, the Aurora Institute (@Aurora_Inst) released A Mastery-Based Math Teacher’s Journey, the inspirational story of one teacher’s multi-year transition from skeptic to devoted practitioner of mastery-based learning. 

Educators across the country are shifting away from traditional, one-size-fits-all teaching to mastery-based learning (also called competency-based learning). Mastery-based learning provides unique opportunities for creating new personalized learning designs and transforming the traditional education system.

This new brief illuminates the journey for teachers, as well as school and district leaders, who are working toward deeper competency-based practice and systemic transformation.

In A Mastery-Based Math Teacher’s Journey, author Ashley Ferrara, a founding faculty member and math teacher at the Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE), a public high school in New York City, shares a refreshing and candid account of her transition to mastery-based learning with her students. Lessons learned from Ferrara’s transition can be applied beyond mathematics to inform mastery-based learning in all academic disciplines. 

“Ashley Ferrara’s story of deep devotion, reinvention, and improvement using mastery-based learning provides guidance and inspiration for all education stakeholders working toward deeper competency-based practice and transformation of the education system,” said Eliot Levine, Aurora Institute Research Director. “The field of competency-based education is very fortunate that Ashley Ferrara has shared her journey with us.”

For more information, please contact the Aurora Institute communications team ([email protected]). 

About the Aurora Institute: Aurora’s mission is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Aurora is shaping the future of teaching and learning for more than 14 million students through its work in policy advocacy, research, and field-building/convening. We work on systems change in K-12 education, identify root causes in structures, promote best practices, examine policy barriers, and make recommendations for change. Aurora has a national and global view of education innovation and lifts up promising policies and practices that yield improved outcomes for students. Aurora envisions a world where all people are empowered to attain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to achieve success, contribute to their communities, and advance society. For more information visit

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