Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders


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Competency education, an educator-led reform, is taking root in schools and districts across the country. In some states, state leadership has cleared the path with policies to advance competency education, while others are transitioning with little or no supporting policy. At the same time, innovative school models are popping up all over the United States, contributing to our knowledge of new ways to organize teaching and learning within a competency-based structure.

This paper seeks to pull together the district implementation strategies currently being used to convert traditional systems into personalized, competency-based ones. Findings are based on interviews and site visits conducted over the past five years as well as the knowledge shared at CompetencyWorks by leaders in the field. The districts showcased in the paper represent just a handful of all the districts converting to competency education, as there are a hundred or more that have also begun the journey to competency education.

This report is also available in four separate excerpts, one for each stage of implementation:

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





Chris Sturgis


CompetencyWorks, iNACOL

Date Published

June 2015




Competency Education Symposium 2016