EMPOWER - empower students; meaningful, balanced assessments; personalized pacing; ontime support; wayfinding pathways; ensuring equity; rigorous, common expectation

Defining Elements of Competency-Based Education

Empower Students

Students are empowered daily to make important decisions about their learning experiences, how they will create and apply knowledge, and how they will demonstrate their learning.


Meaningful, Balanced Assessment

Assessment is a meaningful, positive, and empowering learning experience for students that yields timely, relevant, and actionable evidence.


Personalized Pacing

Students receive timely, differentiated support based upon their individual learning needs.


Ontime Support

Student progress based on evidence of mastery, not seat time.


Wayfinding Pathways

Students learn actively using different pathways and varied pacing.


Ensuring Equity

Strategies to ensure equity for all students are embedded in the culture, structure, and pedagogy of schools and education systems.


Rigorous, Common Expectations

Rigorous, common expectations for learning (knowledge, skills, and dispositions) are explicit, transparent, measurable, and transferable.

From the Revised Definitions of Competency-Based Education Published by the Aurora Institute (2019)

Skills and Dispositions of Successful Learners

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Pathways for Personalized Learning

Create opportunities and innovations that break free of traditional education models. A personalized approach to learning can improve students’ academic performance and better prepare them for college and career.


Working Together to Facilitate Change

We provide support to states, districts and schools to drive real change in education that supports a fully integrated student-centered system designed for all learners.


Supporting Independent and Student-Led Learning

Giving students agency over their own learning helps them develop critical skills and habits around self-direction and study practices. When implemented correctly, student-led learning can give students greater benefit from their education.

“The depth of knowledge through discovery has been huge because I have had to give detailed thought to what I have gained and will apply in best practices for my students and classroom.”

- Attendee of the Powerful Learning Conference

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