Policy Snapshot: Competency-Based Education

Competency-based education is a strategy that awards academic credit to learners who demonstrate content mastery in a specific subject. Some states have begun to adopt competency-based approaches, rather than the traditional seat-time approach to progression, to allow students to learn and move forward at their own pace. Additionally, competency-based education at the postsecondary level can help adult learners receive credit for subject-matter knowledge, reducing the time and cost burden of earning a postsecondary certificate or degree. 

This policy snapshot from the Education Commission of the States provides a summary of 2016 and 2017 state policies, including legislative activities, board policies and programs, related to competency-based education. The report finds that three states considered and one adopted competency-based education legislation in 2016. In 2017, that number is higher, with five state considering legislation by the report's publication date in June 2017. This short policy snapshot provides a helpful starting point for state policymakers to learn more about recent state efforts to adopt or expand competency-based education. 

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June 2017