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Looking Under The Hood Of Competency-Based Education: The Relationship Between Competency-Based Education Practices And Students' Learning Skills, Behaviors, And Dispositions


"Competency-based education is gaining popularity in schools nationwide, and research is just beginning to catch up. A growing practice, competency-based education makes student mastery of learning goals--rather than seat time--the metric to determine student credit and progression. Competency-based education approaches can offer students greater opportunities for deep and personalized learning; as students work toward achieving competency at their own pace, they typically experience more individualized support as well as greater autonomy, flexibility, and responsibility over their own learning--conditions that we would expect to increase academic engagement, motivation, self-efficacy, and other learning capacities that predict academic success.

This study takes a closer look at how schools implement competency-based education, and examines how ninth grade students' experiences of competency-based education practices are related to these 'learning capacities,' or the skills, behaviors, and dispositions that students need to learn effectively. Through a careful analysis of competency-based education in a group of high schools in three states, researchers sought to understand which competency-based education practices, if any, are associated with positive changes in students' learning capacities during their first year of high school."