Competency Education and Assessment

Published: 1/28/2019 2:32 PM

Competency education is a flexible method of teaching that enables students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, pace, or place of learning. Competency education is part of a system of personalized learning.

A competency-based system includes the following:

  • Students advance upon mastery.
  • Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students.
  • Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.
  • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
  • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.​

Competency Education and Assessment pilot program

Kentucky is embarking on a Competency Education and Assessment (CEA) pilot program. Shelby County and Trigg County public schools were the first two districts officially accepted into the pilot and teams from each began work in the spring of 2018. Cohort 1 districts collaborated with the Kentucky Department of Education to create the CEA pilot program vision, goals, and anchor competencies. Cohort 2 was announced in early 2019; Corbin Independent, Logan County, Mason County, and Trimble County public schools officially joined the pilot.

The CEA pilot vision is to create a collaboration among districts committed to competency education and assessment and with the support of the Kentucky Department of Education, design and implement a competency education and assessment system.

The CEA pilot goals are:

  • Develop a set of anchor competencies for Kentucky (goal achieved as of summer 2018)
  • Set progressions for each anchor competency (initial drafts due prior to development of rubrics and performance tasks)
  • Performance assessment system for anchor competencies (all grade levels; in place by end of 2020-2021)
  • Defenses of learning at transition points (end of 3rd, 5th, 8th, high school; in place by end of 2021-2022)
  • Develop academic competencies that combine academic standards and anchor competencies (shift from a standards only approach to a competencies approach; in place by end of 2021-2022)
  • Comprehensive mentoring and advising program by the end of 2021-2022

Anchor competencies:

  • Collaborator: engages with others to achieve a common goal through building positive relationships, actively listening, showing empathy, and making individual contributions to a larger group.
  • Communicator: engages diverse audiences respectfully by exchanging ideas and information responsibly, listening actively, speaking and writing clearly, and using print and digital media appropriately.
  • Critical Thinker: thinks deeply and makes informed decisions to create solutions or new understanding supported by relevant and reliable evidence
  • Empowered Learner: demonstrates mastery and application of academic competencies; develops the skills and dispositions to persist through difficulties and plan for a future of self-improvement.
  • Engaged Citizen: applies learning, shows respect and empathy, embraces diversity of opinion, seeks cultural understanding, and participates in the democratic process to challenge the status quo to positively impact the community and world.

Where can I learn more about competency education?

​David Cook
Office of Continuous Improvement and Support
Division of Innovation and Partner Engagement
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-4201 Ext. 4832
Fax (502) 564-8149
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