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Innovation Zones: Creating Policy Flexibility for Competency-Based Personalized Learning (updated August 2018)

August 2018. This issue brief describes what innovation zones are, why they are important and highlights how the following seven states/localities have approached their innovation zones statutes and regulations: Arkansas Colorado Kentucky Minnesota Mississippi New York City North Dakota Innovation zones or districts of innovation help state policy leaders identify outdated policies and regulations that may get…


State Funding Strategies to Support Education Innovation

June 2018. This issue brief highlights case studies and action steps for policymakers to deepen their understanding of state funding strategies to support innovation in K-12 education. In order for public schools and districts to effectively plan, launch and scale high-quality, innovative learning models, a focused approach to funding statewide initiatives and for building educator capacity is of…


State Strategies to Develop Teacher Capacity for Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

February 2018. This issue brief shares state policy recommendations and action steps for policymakers who are supporting the redesign of educator workforce systems to enable educators to build the skills, competencies and knowledge needed to thrive in modern, student-centered learning environments.   By modernizing educator preparation and development systems, policymakers will support transformation at scale toward education…

Author: Maria Worthen, Susan Patrick

Organization: iNACOL

Type: Issue Brief

Topics: Policy


Rethinking State Accountability to Support Personalized, Competency-Based Learning in K-12 Education

December 2017. This issue brief shares state policy recommendations and resources for policymakers who are ready to rethink state accountability systems to support student-centered learning.  With the passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states gain considerably more authority and autonomy over the design of school accountability systems. This shift in responsibility creates the opportunity…


Redefining Student Success: Profile of a Graduate

November 2017. This policy issue brief provides recommendations for state policymakers to generate a shared vision for student success that prepares all students for college, career and civic life. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states with an unprecedented opportunity to transform K-12 education systems with new flexibility. The new law makes it possible for state leaders…


Redesigning Systems of Assessments for Student-Centered Learning

November 2017. This issue brief explores opportunities for states under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to rethink systems of assessments, and provides recommendations for state policymakers who are ready to support student-centered teaching and learning. Assessment is essential for understanding what students have learned and for providing transparency and fairness when it comes to certifying mastery…

Type: Issue Brief

Topics: Policy


State Policy & K-12 Competency-Based Education

August 2017. This iNACOL Issue Brief provides an overview of competency-based education, and provides state policy recommendations and resources for policymakers who are ready to enable and support competency education. Competency-based education is a next generation learning model that focuses on all students achieving mastery, preparing them for success in college, careers and civic life. State leaders…


Promising State Policies to Advance Personalized Learning

September 2016. iNACOL published the report Promising State Policies for Personalized Learning to highlight specific state examples of promising policies to support and scale personalized, competency-based learning to close equity and achievement gaps. This executive summary outlines the policies in that report. What Is the Promise of Personalized Learning? Personalized learning can: Dramatically increase equity in education; Facilitate data-rich, powerful…


Innovation Zones: Creating Policy Flexibility for Personalized Learning

March 2016. This policy issue brief describes what innovation zones are, why they are important and examples of legislative language from various states. Innovation zones or districts of innovation help state policy leaders identify outdated policies and regulations that may get in the way of educators designing innovative learning models. They create space for districts and schools to…


Course Access: Providing Equitable Access to High-Quality Learning Opportunities

November 2015. Course Access provides public school students with expanded course offerings across learning environments from diverse, accountable providers. It is a statewide program through which students can gain equitable access to a variety of courses in a programmatic effort to increase access, quality and equity in public education. School counselors work with students to identify courses that are academically appropriate…