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A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change

February 2014. This report discusses a student-centered federal policy framework designed to advance the growth of competency education. The authors argue that the current traditional system fails students, and it is time to reframe quality, accountability, and access. The traditional education system is often reinforced by federal, state, and local governments through outdated compliance requirements and funding…


Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education

January 2014. The purpose of this report is to explore how to redesign grading systems to best help students gain the skills necessary to be successful. This report explains the weaknesses of traditional grading systems, and how to redesign grading along the 6 elements of competency-based grading. It highlights lessons learned from the field, such as transparency, community…


iNACOL’s New Learning Models Vision

October 2013. This brief summarizes iNACOL’s New Learning Models, which personalize learning using competency-based approaches. Supported by blended and online learning modalities, teachers use technology to differentiate instruction and engage students in deeper learning. By adapting instruction to reflect a student’s level of mastery, blended and online models have the potential to keep students engaged and supported…


iNACOL Research Agenda

October 2013. iNACOL publishes a research agenda on an ongoing basis to continue its work in field-building, capacity-building and knowledge-building. Based on a 2013 survey of the field to identify research needs, iNACOL developed a research approach, including the following: Build a collaborative research agenda, including: field experts, the iNACOL Research Committee, the iNACOL Research Special Interest…


Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education

October 2013. This paper provides a scan of the literature to expand the knowledge base for the field of online, blended, and competency-based education. The goal of the paper is to explain the nuances of key terms used across the field of K-12 education related to personalized, blended and competency education, and how the ideas integrate in order…


Competency Works: The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in a Competency-Based Learning Environment

March 2013. The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in a Competency-Based Learning Environment delves into the fourth element of the definition of competency education: students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs. Understanding how to structure supports is important because learning in a competency-based environment means that students and adults are often on the edge…


Re-Engineering Information Technology: Design Considerations for Competency Education

February 2013. This report analyzes the components of effective competency-based information systems. Based on interviews and research, the ideas portrayed reflect lessons learned, best practices, and emerging opportunities. Read this paper to find role-specific strategies to make informed decisions, support new competency-based learning models, and to catalyze change in education.


Necessary for Success: A State Policymaker’s Guide to Competency Education

February 2013. Necessary for Success provides insights from state leaders on how to re-engineer policies and practices of our K-12 system. The authors introduce the main concepts behind competency-based learning, and they study important initial steps taken by states in developing this emerging model. Read this report and discover how state leaders create a culture of competency…


The Art and Science of Designing Competencies

July 2012. The Art and Sciences of Designing Competencies paper discusses how innovators in competency education develop competencies. Often this is referred to as a tuning process or reengineering process – mapping from what we want students to know and be able to do all the way backwards to the choices for curricular tasks and assessments. This…


NACSA Viewpoint: Authorizing Online Learning

August 2011. Online learning is growing by 40% annually and creating new full- and part-time options for students and families. However, most charter school legislation, drafted in the early 1990s, is not inclusive to online learning opportunities. This paper addresses 3 key questions that state policymakers and authorizers need to answer: Who will operate and authorize online…