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Aurora Institute

CompetencyWorks is a knowledge-building hub and online resource dedicated to providing information about K-12 competency-based education.

Drawing on lessons learned by innovators, CompetencyWorks shares knowledge and a variety of perspectives through an informative practice-focused blog, research reports on emerging issues, policy advocacy, and resources curated from across the field of K-12 competency-based education.

A graphic describing the interconnectedness of Aurora Institute's CBE elements.

In April 2024 we created a new graphic representation of the Aurora Institute’s definition of Competency-Based Education (CBE). The goal of the graphic is to show the relationship between the seven elements of the CBE definition. Like the definition itself, the graphic has undergone several iterations based on feedback from people in the CBE field.

Creating a coherent and equitable CBE system requires an inclusive process and a learning orientation in which all participants – educators, students, families, community partners, and policymakers – provide leadership and build capacity to transform school culture, structures, and pedagogy.

The History of CompetencyWorks

CompetencyWorks was founded in 2012 by Susan Patrick, former President & CEO of The Aurora Institute, and Chris Sturgis of LearningEdge (formerly of MetisNet). The initiative was designed to focus on knowledge-sharing and on field-building to create opportunities for the voices of innovators to shape the field. Working across the field, early activities included creating a working definition of competency-based education, supporting networks of innovators and new organizations in the field, establishing a focus and strands on competency-based education at the Symposium, and developing and disseminating knowledge through the CompetencyWorks website, wiki, papers, blog posts, and webinars.

As the field has developed, the role of CompetencyWorks has expanded to include describing the work of innovative districts in more depth, identifying and responding to questions and emerging issues from the field, providing light coordination across diverse organizations in the field, hosting briefings for stakeholders (e.g., policymakers, funders, district leaders, and organizations), providing policy development and advocacy, and intervening on issues that are creating vulnerability or confusion within the field.

A headshot of Laurie Gagnon, Program Director of CompetencyWorks. Laurie smiles at the camera; she is wearing a black top and light green sweater.

Meet Our CompetencyWorks Program Lead

Laurie Gagnon 

Follow Laurie on Twitter