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A competency is a defined cluster of related capabilities (skills and knowledge) with methods and criteria to determine the degree to which a person demonstrates mastery in them. Competencies often correspond to roles, such as student, plumber, or writer, and mastery may be benchmarked toward the ultimate demonstration of proficiency in that role (p. 6).

Competencies in education can be categorized as personal, academic, or career/occupational (p. 7).

Dr. Sam Redding

Handbook on Personalized Learning

CBE, an educational approach that focuses on the mastery of
competencies—rather than seat time—as the measure of student
learning, is increasingly being recognized as a key strategy for
ensuring that all students can reach the higher bar of college and
career readiness (Martinez & Poon, 2015; Worthen & Patrick,
2015). In a competency-based approach, students earn credit by
demonstrating that they have met specific learning targets—that is,
competencies (p. 2).

Staying Shallow or Going Deep?

CBE Resources

About this Toolkit
How can this toolkit help me?
The Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL) CBE Toolkit is a learning resource for teachers, administrators, district personnel, or other educators and policymakers who want to learn more about Competency-Based Education. It is intended to be a professional development experience that you can navigate independently, providing you with topic-specific modules and questions to assess your mastery of the content. In essence, you will get to participate in a CBE learning experience for yourself! Each module will also connect you to resources from other organizations focused on this important work. Use this toolkit as an independent professional, as the basis for your school’s professional development, or as a resource you share with colleagues.

How this toolkit is designed
This toolkit is designed as a self-guided exploration of Competency-Based Education. The content is grouped into five independent modules, each of which has its own topic, or competency, and questions for mastery. Each module includes information about the topic, as well as videos, graphics, and links to external resources if you want more information. For the full experience, we recommend reviewing each of the modules in order, but you are welcome to pick and choose the modules that are most relevant to you.

Below are the five modules of this Competency-Based Education toolkit:  
Module 1: I’m New to This: What is Competency-Based Education (CBE)?
Module 2: What Does CBE Implementation Look Like in the Classroom?
Module 3: What Tools Can I Use to Measure Mastery?
Module 4: What Does CBE Implementation Look Like at the District/State Level?
Module 5: Is CBE Right For Me? 

Helping educators transform teaching and personalize learning.