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Personalized Competency-Based Education

Read more about our approach in this white paper.

The Reinventing Schools approach connects key features of personalized learning with the technical requirements necessary to fully implement a competency-based system. We refer to the approach as personalized competency-based education (PCBE), and it has the following characteristics:

  • Students move on to the next level within a subject area only after they have demonstrated proficiency at the current level.
  • The time required to learn content is not a factor in judging students’ competencies.
  • Students have multiple opportunities and ways to learn specific content.
  • Students have multiple opportunities and ways to demonstrate proficiency with specific content.
  • Development of student agency is a central focus in addition to proficiency with academic content.
  • Students have choice in the teaching and learning process.
  • Students have voice in the teaching and learning process.
Personalized competency-based education (PCBE) systems may look different everywhere, but districts, schools, and classrooms can follow a schema or blueprint to ask the right questions before diving in headfirst. When designing a PCBE system, each piece must work in concert with the other pieces so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We suggest starting with seven design questions:

  1. What content will be addressed within the system?
  2. How will the learning environment support student agency?
  3. How will instruction support student learning?
  4. How will student proficiency be measured?
  5. How will scheduling accommodate student learning?
  6. How will reporting facilitate student learning?
  7. How do we transition to a PCBE system?
For each question, we work with districts and schools to examine considerations, approaches, and strategies as they design effective PCBE systems. We support implementation at the district, school, and classroom levels with consulting, technical assistance, professional development, and coaching services that support the development of infrastructure and processes for each design component.

Click to reverse list order.
  1. Coaching to Support Implementation in a Personalized Competency-Based System

    Coaching to Support Implementation in a Personalized Competency-Based System

    How do we build the capacity to maintain and grow our personalized competency-based system? Marzano Research offers on-site and web-based coaching services to support the implementation of personalized competency-based education at the district, school, and classroom levels. Coaching services are available for district and school leaders, instructional coaches, and teachers.

  2. Getting Started in a Personalized Competency-Based System

    Getting Started in a Personalized Competency-Based System

    What is personalized learning and competency-based education and how can I get started in my classroom or school? Learn about the key differences between time-based and performance-based systems of learning, and explore the benefits of a student-centered approach to teaching and learning that allows students to move through levels of content at their appropriate pace.

  3. Transitioning to a Personalized Competency-Based System

    Transitioning to a Personalized Competency-Based System

    Thinking about transitioning to a personalized competency-based system and wondering where to begin? Our coaches can help you examine issues related to policy, curriculum, instruction, assessment, scheduling, and more that can impact your transition from a traditional, time-based system to a competency-based model that emphasizes student-centered, personalized learning.

  4. Creating a Learning Environment to Promote Student Agency

    Creating a Learning Environment to Promote Student Agency

    Imagine a classroom where all students are engaged learners who set goals and monitor their progress. In a competency-based education classroom that delivers personalized learning, teachers and students must shift the way they view teaching and learning.