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Competency-Based Learning

What Is a Competency-Based Learning System?

CLPS is on a journey to create a competency-based learning system based on the following principles:

  • Students are empowered daily to make important decisions about their learning experiences, how they will create and apply knowledge, and how they will demonstrate their learning.
  • Assessment is a meaningful, positive, and empowering learning experience for students that yields timely, relevant, and actionable evidence.
  • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
  • Students progress based on evidence of mastery, not seat time.
  • Students learn actively using different pathways and varied pacing.
  • Strategies to ensure equity for all students are embedded in the culture, structure, and pedagogy of schools and education systems.
  • Rigorous, common expectations for learning (knowledge, skills, and dispositions) are explicit, transparent, measurable, and transferable.


The concept behind competency-based education is simple: Learning is best measured by students demonstrating mastery of learning, rather than the number of hours spent in a classroom.  Think of driver’s education.  Would you feel comfortable driving on the road with other cars if you knew that the drivers only had passed a written test of questions based on the rules of the road?  To get a license, drivers need to show that they can use the knowledge by passing a driving test.  They need to show evidence that they can transfer their learning.  In some cases, it takes multiple tries.  As a system, we believe that it is our responsibility to ensure that students are able to apply what they are learning – both academically and social-emotionally.  By focusing on what students are actually learning and able to do with the knowledge, we will prepare each student more effectively for a future in an increasingly global and competitive economy.