NEWS & TRENDS: Schooling Redesigned: The Case for Competency-Based Education

In Schooling Redesigned, the OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovations makes the case for transformed schools that feature tasks and projects that challenge young people in authentic ways to build design, collaboration, and communication skills that prepare them to navigate new and complex situations. A new report from Getting Smart outlines four reasons for change:

  1. Quality preparation. Sal Khan argues that students should master skills at a high level before moving on to enable skill transference. Mastery of only 70–80% leaves major gaps in understanding.
  2. Learning science. “The research on how students learn examines how important it is to meet a student within their zone of proximal development. . . allow for productive struggle and design progressions effectively where learning hinges on successful prior learning,” according to iNACOL.
  3. Equity. Competency-based learning interrupts inequitable practices and promotes high outcomes for all learners. 
  4. Agency. More than a decade of research suggests that mindset matters in postsecondary and career success. “When students themselves have a sense of who they are . . . both in terms of daily habits and long-term plans—there is a unique sense of purpose and ownership,” says Mary Ryerse of Getting Smart.