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Competency-based education focuses on students mastering a specific skill or piece of knowledge.

Students who can show they’ve mastered one content area can dive deeper or progress to the next level, while those who struggle in a certain area can get they help they need, ensuring they understand the work before moving on.

This approach keeps students from falling through the cracks and allows teachers to focus their attention on the students who need it most. It also, in most cases, gives students a clear picture of what they need to achieve and, when it happens, where they fell short.

Moving to a competency-based system is tricky, though. Just ask New Hampshire. The state’s legislature mandated a shift to competency-based education in 2005 and school districts in the state have since worked to overhaul grading systems, reconfigure learning management tools, and foster community support for the change.

This week, district leaders and teachers from the League of Innovative Schools joined American Youth Policy Forum on a tour of the Granite State to see competency-based education in action and learn from districts immersed in the work.


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