School Administrative Unit #9

Competency-Based Education

Competency-Based Education in SAU9

Have you met Molly?  Take a moment to watch this video and think about her educational needs.


Today's students need to learn to think critically, communicate effectively, collaborate with others and solve challenging problems.  They need to be able to apply their skills and knowledge to unique situations.  It is no longer enough to have knowledge; today the world cares much more about what you can do with what you know.  If we are going to achieve our vision of realizing the full potential of each and every student we must transform our educational system.   

Competency-based educational systems are based on the concept that students need to demonstrate their mastery of content and skills as well as their ability to apply that understanding.   Students engage in meaningful, relevant learning experiences based on established standards and competencies.  They have choice and voice in what they are learning.  Assessment is a meaningful process that happens with students when they are ready, rather than being something that is done to students based upon an established timeline.  

In 2011, a group of innovative educators came together to define competency-based education.  The describe its components as 

  • Students advance upon demonstrated 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 supports based on their individual needs
  • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions (  

So, what might this look like in action in SAU#9?  The image below represents the components we see as essential to becoming competency-based.   For a definition and explanation of each term, please see the definitions page.

CBE Infographic

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