Competency-based education focuses on students mastering a specific skill or piece of knowledge. When students can demonstrate they’ve mastered the task at hand, when they can prove they’re competent in it, they progress to the next level, concept, or content area.

Definitions | Blogs and Research |

CBE Study Tour: New Hampshire | Tools and Resources

Defining Competency-based Education

School districts from Alaska to New Hampshire are embracing competency-based education. But how teachers and district leaders interpret and implement the practice varies – as it should. Education, after all, is not a one-sized-fits-all endeavour.

At its core, competency-based education…

  • Focuses on student growth.
  • Gives students ownership of their learning.
  • Personalizes learning to meets students’ social, emotional, and academic needs.
  • Equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary for college, and for a lifetime.


Blogs and Research

Digital Promise continuously explores aspects and anecdotes of competency-based education. We research examples of competency-based education in action, bring together experts and practitioners working to amplify the practice, and write about what we hear and see along the way.

Exploring the Paths Toward Competency-Based Learning

In spring 2014, the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools hosted a summit in Washington, D.C., featuring school district leaders, policy experts, and teachers working to personalize education in meaningful ways. Attendees shared their definitions of competency-based education, heard from educators applying these principles on the ground, and developed action plans to pursue competency-based education models individually, with each other, and through Digital Promise.



Schools See Results With Competency-Based Learning

Competency-based education is not a new concept, but it is one that is finally gaining traction in school districts from Alaska to New Hampshire and points in between. Teachers who use the approach in their classrooms are quick to point out that empowering students to move at their own pace increases student engagement and performance. There are measurable outcomes to support this.



Learning From New Hampshire: League of Innovative Schools CBE Study Tour

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

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CBE Study Tour: New Hampshire

On Nov. 16-18, a small group of League superintendents, teachers, and district leaders visited three school districts in New Hampshire, a leader in competency-based education. This opportunity was made possible thanks to the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and support from American Youth Policy Forum, which organized the event.

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View resources and history on competency-based education in New Hampshire.


Tools and Resources

Competency-based education resources are plentiful. But, as is often the case, can be scattered across the broad expanse that is the Internet. Digital Promise worked with members of the League of Innovative Schools and other thought leaders in the area to cull some of the top tools and resources out there.





Case Studies


This list is far from exhaustive. We’re counting on you to share the best competency-based education resources you come across.

Share CBE resources in the comments section below.