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Competency Based Model

Why CBE?

The goal of competency-based education is to transform our education system from a time-based system to a learning-based system. Instead of awarding credits based on how much time students spend learning, this model awards credits based on whether students can prove they have mastered competencies—the skills, abilities, and knowledge required in an area of study. Put simply, competency-based education, is not about time—it’s about what you know and are able to do.

The Learning What Matters competency-based framework is the structure that can be used to replace time-based, age-based, and course-based structures with one that focuses on learning, growth, and readiness. The LWM framework defines the competencies, skills, and experiences students will need to master and/or complete in order to demonstrate readiness, earn credit, and graduate from high school.

  • Each skill of each competency has a rubric, which we call a continua, that transparently details for students what learning looks like at each level.
  • Competencies are grouped into sets and each competency set has a portfolio that students need to complete. Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their learning multiple times in multiple contexts.
  • Performance-based assessments are required for students to demonstrate their learning through the application of skills, knowledge, and strategies to construct an answer, produce a product, or perform an activity.
  • Performance-based assessments are rated using the continua, and revision occurs through continua-based feedback.
  • One portfolio = credit: When students complete each portfolio at the minimum growth or performance level, they receive credit, regardless of seat time.
  • Learning can occur and be assessed in multiple contexts and experiences both in out of the the four walls of the school building

Each domain has sets of competencies or experiences that students are required to complete to earn credit and graduate from high school.

  • Core Content Area Competencies: These competency sets are aligned to national standards and focus on the application of knowledge in multiple ways through multiple experiences. 
  • Habits of Success Competencies: These competencies focus on developing the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, habits, and behaviors that research suggests are essential to success in learning, self-direction, and well-being.
  • Nextgen Essential Competencies: These competencies focus on developing strength in problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration as well as skills relevant to the increasingly “disorderly” world — entrepreneurship, digital literacy, and practical life. 
  • Wayfinding Experiences: These experiences focus on developing wayfinding abilities by focusing on identifying interests and passions, navigating transitions, learning from failure, and building social capital culminating in a postsecondary plan upon graduation. 
5 competency graphic