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Aurora Institute


The iNACOL State Policy Frameworks 2015: 5 Critical Issues to Transform K-12 Education

Author(s): Susan Patrick, Maria Worthen

Organization(s): iNACOL

Issue(s): State Policy, Fund Innovation, Create Enabling Conditions for Competency-Based Education

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This policy brief highlights opportunities for states to close achievement gaps and enable highly personalized pathways, and provides concrete, actionable recommendations for state policymakers around five key issues:

  1. Create Competency-Based Education Systems
  2. Improve Student Access and Equity
  3. Ensure Quality with Standards and Performance Metrics
  4. Modernize Educator and Leader Development
  5. Build New Learning Models Infrastructure

This report provides background information and specific policy recommendations for each of these issues.  Taken as a whole, these recommendations present a framework for sustainable, systemic change. However, we present them with the understanding that each state starts from a different place, with its own unique context in its education system and its policy landscape.

Over the last decade, the American education system has seen unprecedented transformation of teaching and learning as educators have grasped the power of new learning models to close achievement gaps and extend access to high-quality learning opportunities. The availability of adaptive digital tools that use data to improve student learning has exploded as technology and innovation advance. The next few years hold great potential to continue the incredible progress we have achieved—with new learning models that allow personalization of instruction for each student and a shift towards competency education that will ensure teaching and learning are built on a foundation of true mastery. However, this shift cannot be sustained without changes in state policy.