An International Study in Competency Education: Postcards from Abroad seeks to highlight components of competency education in international practice, to inform US policymakers and decision makers seeking to implement high-quality competency pathways at the state or local level. Other countries are studying our innovations, and we are studying theirs.
This report first reviews the definition of competency-based learning. A brief lesson in the international vocabulary of competency education is followed by a review of global trends that complement our own efforts to improve performance and increase equitable outcomes. Next, we share an overview of competency education against a backdrop of global education trends (as seen in the international PISA exams), before embarking on an abbreviated world tour. We pause in Finland, British Columbia (Canada), New Zealand and Scotland, with interludes in Sweden, England, Singapore and Shanghai, all of which have embraced practices that can inform the further development of competency education in the United States.