How Systems of Assessments Aligned with Competency-Based Education Can Support Equity

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Competency-based education systems hold promise for maximizing high-quality teaching and learning for the growth of all students. Such systems, if well designed and implemented, can serve critical equity aims by ensuring that all students are supported in meeting key learning and development targets. Competency-based education systems, however, cannot fulfill these goals unless accompanied by high-quality assessments and assessment systems. School, district, and state leaders must work to develop balanced assessment systems that are coherent with the target competencies and learning progressions, that comprehensively provide a range of evidence for each student and to serve multiple stakeholders, and continuously monitor students’ progress over time. Balanced assessment systems are critical for providing information at multiple levels of the system to monitor, evaluate, and enhance quality for education and equity agendas. This is a necessary paradigm shift. 

In this report, we address the following questions:

  • What are the opportunities and barriers in districts and in states to build and sustain systems of assessments that support competency-based education over the short- and long-term? 
  • As district and state leaders transform educational models to support competency-based learning, what role could assessment play at each level to advance important equity goals?
  • How might a balanced assessment system support competency-based education, and what are the requirements for such an assessment system?  

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Author

Carla Evans, Maria Worthen, Scott Marion

Organization

Aurora Institute, Center for Assessment

Date Published

January 2020

Type

Report