fbpx
Classful Classful Shop

Increasingly used in both public and private schools, competency-based education & learning focuses on students’ abilities, skills, and proficiencies as they progress throughout their academic careers.

Designed to ensure students acquire key skills, competency-based learning emphasizes the student’s personal learning outcomes and aims to ensure all students progress at the best rate for them.

Education resources

View all
Spring pack

Spring pack

$4.00
Subtracting Two-Digit Numbers With Regrouping/Composing BINGO GAME; For K-5 Teachers and Students in the Math Classroom

Subtracting Two-Digit Numbers With Regrouping/Composing BINGO GAME; For K-5 Teachers and Students in the Math Classroom

$1.99
TS sound in CVC and 2-3 syllable words with snake visual

TS sound in CVC and 2-3 syllable words with snake visual

$1.00
Grammar Posters Preview!

Grammar Posters Preview!

Free
Multiplying Two-Digit Numbers (Coloring Activity) For K-5 Teachers and Students in the Math Classroom

Multiplying Two-Digit Numbers (Coloring Activity) For K-5 Teachers and Students in the Math Classroom

$1.99
2-D Shapes: Pentagon, Hexagon, Octagon

2-D Shapes: Pentagon, Hexagon, Octagon

$3.00
Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Reading Passage

Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Reading Passage

$1.50
Emancipation Proclamation, Reading Passage

Emancipation Proclamation, Reading Passage

$1.50
Singular VS Plural Nouns: Writing, Identifying, Cut & Paste 4 Grammar Worksheets; For K-5 Teachers and Students in the Grammar, Language Arts, and Writing Classroom

Singular VS Plural Nouns: Writing, Identifying, Cut & Paste 4 Grammar Worksheets; For K-5 Teachers and Students in the Grammar, Language Arts, and Writing Classroom

$1.99

What is competency-based education?

Competency-based learning offers a new approach to training and education. Distinct from traditional methods of schooling, a competency-based education prioritizes individual or personalized learning. With established learning outcomes, students are taught and assessed in line with their skill acquisition.

By allowing students to progress at their own pace, rather than in line with an arbitrary deadline, teachers can ensure that students have mastered key skills. In a standard learning environment, students will typically remain in the same class for one academic year before being graded and moving on to the next stage of their education.

However, students who receive A and D grades will progress at the same rate, regardless of their varying competency levels. Essentially, this means that some students are being propelled through the education system, regardless of whether they have achieved their learning objectives or mastered key skills.

Conversely, gifted students may become bored, disinterested, or demotivated when they are stuck in classes that don’t stretch their abilities. When students are able to progress at their own pace via competency-based learning, all students will have the opportunity to acquire and develop the skills and competencies they will require in the future.

Competency-based learning vs a traditional education

Often, the best way to understand competency-based learning is to compare it to the more traditional forms of learning we typically see in school environments.

When receiving a more traditional education, for example, students will:
  • Follow a standardized curriculum
  • Move forward regardless of prior knowledge and learning outcomes
  • Remain in the same class for one academic year
In contrast, a competency-based education enables students to:
  • Engage which subject matter at a level that suits them
  • Move forward at their own pace
  • Remain in a class for as long as they need to until learning outcomes are met

Another key difference between traditional learning and competency-based education is how students are assessed.

In a standard classroom environment, students will:
  • Complete regular assignments, usually text-based
  • Undertake end of term and end of year exams, usually in writing
  • Receive a grade ranging from A to D, or lower if they are deemed to have failed the class

When competency-based learning strategies are implemented, however, students are assessed and graded differently.

In accordance with competency-based education, students will:
  • Be assessed on their demonstrable skills and competencies
  • Undertake assessments in a variety of ways e.g. via presentations, written work, verbal discussions, etc.
  • Be able to demonstrate their abilities and competencies at any time, rather than at set assessment intervals
  • Be graded according to their competency e.g. ’ Students can subtract and add numbers up to 15. Student needs to work on multiplication and division competencies’

It is important to note that a competency-based education does not refer to holding students back a year, making them retake a class, or allowing them to skip a grade. Although competency-based learning does enable students to progress at their own pace, the theory behind competency-based education is far more nuanced. With an emphasis on personalized learning, students will benefit from flexible, student-led curriculums and a variety of learning methods when they receive a competency-based education.

Pros and Cons of Competency-Based Learning

As with all educational strategies, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with competency-based learning.

Some of the advantages of using a competency-based approach include:
  • Students can tailor their education to their own unique needs
  • Prior learning and skill acquisition is taken into account
  • Opportunity for summative assessments to be used
  • Parents gain more meaningful insight into their child’s abilities

However, there are some disadvantages associated with competency-based learning too.

Some of the negatives linked to competency-based approaches include:
  • A non-standardized approach can mean substantial discrepancies in school curriculums
  • Increased flexibility can be difficult to implement in larger schools
  • Generally, additional funding is required to deliver a competency-based education
  • Competency-based learning is more suited to certain subjects and topics e.g. vocational courses

Is Competency-Based Learning Right for Your School?

Some people see competency-based learning as the best form of education, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that is a workable strategy that can be used in every school. While many teachers would favor a competency-based approach ’in an ideal world’, the practical demands and limitations of a public school environment mean that a complete competency-based education is rarely achievable.

However, the benefits associated with competency-based learning cannot be ignored. As many of the concepts and skills taught in later years rely on prior competencies being acquired, it would seem that a competency-based approach would be advantageous, particularly throughout early educational years.

While competency-based learning may not be truly viable throughout a student’s entire academic career, schools can benefit from adopting strategies that are more in line with competency-based learning. By focusing on the acquisition of core skills at a student-led pace, for example, teachers can ensure their students have the tools they need to thrive throughout their academic and professional careers.