The Past and the Promise: Today’s Competency Education Movement

Cecilia Le, Rebecca E. Wolfe and Adria Steinberg

In competency-based schools, students advance based upon mastery of material, rather than time spent in a classroom in age-based cohorts. In a competency-based model, teachers provide customized supports to help propel everyone to proficiency.

The Past and The Promise: Today’s Competency Education Movement is the first paper in Students at the Center's new Competency Education Research Series. This paper lays a foundation for assessing the potential of competency-based models, grounded in an exploration of the outcomes from previous like-minded efforts. 


Competency education is one important part of a broader vision of education reform that places students at the center of their learning.