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Aurora Institute

Press Release

New iNACOL Report Published on Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders

CompetencyWorks report shares findings and lessons learned from school districts implementing competency education

CompetencyWorks released a new report today: Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders, authored by Chris Sturgis, Principal of MetisNet. This paper describes effective district implementation strategies to convert traditional, one-size-fits-all models of education into more personalized, competency-based learning environments to meet students’ needs.

This paper highlights strategies to engage, motivate, and teach all students to proficiency and mastery; depicts shifts in instruction toward deeper learning and meaningful assessments for learning; while exploring models of distributed leadership and educator empowerment.

Over the past five years, Sturgis has interviewed leading innovators and visited competency-based schools and districts nationwide. These innovators offer powerful insights regarding opportunities and challenges in transitioning to competency education.

“The traditional, time-based education system is failing students. Competency education creates a system-wide infrastructure that creates the necessary feedback loops to ensure that students are learning,” said Chris Sturgis. “The transition toward competency education is not easy, yet the strategic recommendations from cutting-edge leaders presented in this paper provide strategies to both ease and accelerate this transition.”

Four stages of implementation are proposed in this paper:

  1. Ramping Up for Transformation
  2. Designing the Infrastructure for Competency-Based Learning
  3. Transitioning to a Competency-Based System
  4. Embracing Continuous Improvement

“Nearly 90% of states are creating policies to open innovation space for competency-based pathways,” said Susan Patrick, President and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). “Districts and school leaders throughout the U.S. are designing powerful new personalized learning models built on competency education. These practitioners are co-designing systems to empower educators to personalize instruction. By providing tools and the infrastructure centered on student mastery, the focus is on maximizing every student’s potential and ensuring that success is the only option for students to be ready for college and future careers.”

To download a full copy of Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders, please visit

This report is also available in four separate excerpts – each focused on one of these four implementation stages – to provide targeted information for leaders and educators in specific phases of transitioning to competency education.

For more information about CompetencyWorks, please visit



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