Resources

Guides and Tools

Competency-Based Education: Staying Shallow or Going Deep?

American Institutes for Research and Center on Innovations in Learning | May 2017

The College and Career Readiness and Success Center, the Great Lakes and Midwest Regional Deeper Learning Initiative, and the Center on Innovations in Learning’s new brief, Competency-Based Education: Staying Shallow or Going Deep?, explores how states and districts can define learner competencies that reflect the full range of knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for students to achieve college and career readiness.

The Science of Learning

Deans for Impact | December 2016

The Science of Learning summarizes the existing research from cognitive science related to how students learn, and connects this research to its practical implications for teaching and learning. Building off many efforts that came before it and reflecting the general consensus of the scientific community, The Science of Learning is intended to serve as a resource to teacher-educators, new teachers, and anyone in the education profession who is interested our best scientific understanding of how learning takes place.

Preparing Teachers for a Project-Based World

Getting Smart | November 2016

In this paper, Preparing Teachers for a Project-Based World, Getting Smart explores how teacher preparation and professional learning can be aligned to–and modeled after–the types of deeper learning environments we also seek to create for students. The paper shares a vision for preparation and beginning teacher professional development–a vision that embraces the opportunity of personalized project-based learning (PBL) for all students. Getting Smart also focuses on what a well-prepared PBL teacher should know and be able to do.

Looking Under the Hood of Competency-Based Education

American Institutes for Research | November 2016


This webinar featured highlights from AIR's study, including the core components of CBE and how they might benefit students. The CBE study team was joined by two of our state-level study partners, Paul Leather, deputy commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Education, and Ryan Krohn, director of the Institute for Personalized Learning in Wisconsin. The state-level partners shared their reflections on the study's findings and implications for their CBE work.
Transcript coming soon.

Reaching the Tipping Point: Insights on Advancing Competency Education in New England

Sturgis, C. | October 2016

This paper explores the core concepts of competency education, detailing the limitations of the traditional system, and how competency education is designed explicitly for equity and student success.

Meeting the Every Student Succeeds Act's Promise: State Policy to Support Personalized Learning

Frost, D., Worthen, M., Gentz, S., & Patrick, S. | October 2016

This report from iNACOL describes state policies that could improve student learning through personalized and competency-based learning. The authors specifically look into ESSA to explore previously unattainable opportunities for state and local stakeholders.

Competency-Based Policies and Pathways: Lessons from Colorado and Illinois

Achieve, Inc | September 2016

Through the state engagement and development of recommendations, Achieve has identified early lessons learned in Colorado and Illinois that will be of interest to other states exploring Competency Based Pathways

Advancing Personalized Learning through the iterative application of innovation science

Redding, Twyman and Murhpy, CIL | September 2016

The Center for Innovations in Learning has released a white paper that outlines how innovation science can help promote school transformation towards personalized learning through an intentional and structure cycle of continuious improvement.

Personalized Competency-Based Education: Creating a Cohesive and Coherent System

Marzano Research | September 2016

This white paper outlines Marzano's response to the call to create a “cohesive understanding of how personalized learning and competency education go hand in hand” (Sturgis, 2016a). We refer to the approach as personalized competency-based education (PCBE).

Enhancing engagement through active student response

Tincani, M. & Twyman, J. | August 2016

Student engagement is critical to academic success. Teaching techniques that involve a high level of active student responding (ASR) are effective ways to improve student engagement and are important components of evidence-based practice.

Preparing Students for a Project-Based World

Lathram, B., Lenz, B., & Ark, T.V. | August 2016

From Getting Smart and the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), the authors discuss and describe how project-based learning and deeper learning can better prepare students for the new economy. They also argue that project-based learning is the best way to address issues surrounding equity.

Handbook on Personalized Learning for States, Districts, and Schools

Murphy, M., Redding, S., & Twyman, J.S. | August 2016

From the Center on Innovations in Learning, this book serves as a clarifying guide on personalized learning and competency-based education. Topics include: personal competencies, student-centered learning, technology in support of personalized learning and the personalized learning community. The authors also discuss several descriptive studies that incorporate the principles of personalized learning in a number of settings.

Learning that Works Resource Center

AdvanceCTE | July 2016

"[This] Resource Center was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative….and contains three types of materials: • Reports and case studies to offer data and/or research to inform readers about innovations and trends in career readiness strategies; • Tools and guides to assist in the design and implementation of states’ career preparation systems; and • Policies, including career readiness-focused legislation, regulations and administrative actions, to provide models and promising practices to state leaders. The Resource Center is a curated set of materials, with established criteria in place."

Every Student Succeeds Act Primer: Deeper Learning

Alliance for Excellent Ed | July 2016

This Alliance for Excellent Education Fact Sheet offers guidance on the opportunities inherent in ESSA for supporting deeper learning through assessment strategies, student supports and building teacher capacity.

Innopod: Personalized Learning

Center on Innovations In Learning | June 2016

"Innopods" are electronic, episodic series of information and activities that blend CIL's work in personalized learning and the science of innovation. This first Innopod covers the basics of personalized learning.

Teaching Students To Drive Their Brains

ASCD | June 2016

Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers, authors of Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains: Strategies, Activities, and Lesson Ideas, discuss a practical framework for helping school-age students across all grade levels and content areas become metacognitive learners.

Seizing the Moment: Realizing the Promise of Student-Centered Learning

Our Piece of the Pie | May 2016

A policy brief outlining the outcomes of a meeting between a group of personalized learning practitioners and thought leaders in November 2015. Contains 5 principles for personalized learning and local, state, and federal policy recommendations.

Student-Centered Learning: Functional Requirements for Integrated Systems to Optimize Learning

iNACOL | May 2016

This report provides a framework for understanding the technology and processes that learning systems require to transition to student-centered learning. The authors tailor the report to educators, school leaders, and technology development specialists and discuss a few learning models, including mastery-based online and blended learning and project-based learning.

Integrating Employability Skills: A Framework for All Educators

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders | April 2016

This interactive module – a collection of PowerPoint slides, handouts, sample agenda, and a facilitator’s guide - can help state education agencies and regional techical assistance providers in building their knowledge and capacity to integrate and prioritize employability skills at the state and local levels.

New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology

World Economic Forum | March 2016

This report follows up on a 2015 report on sixteen proficiencies essential for closing the 21st century skills gap. The follow-up explores how those proficiencies not only deepen 21st century skills, but are also at the core of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and can be fostered through technology. To achieve this analysis, this report explores the following topics: 1) benefits and best practices of SEL; 2) the promise of education technology; 3) the hurdles of adopting SEL technology, and 4) how to involve essential stakeholders.

Competencies and Personalized Learning

Center on Innovations in Learning | March 2016

The Center on Innovations in Learning released the first chapter of its forthcoming Handbook on Personalized Learning for States, Districts and Schools. Senior Learning Specialist Sam Redding offers a rich conceptual introduction to the topics of competency and personalized learning, uncovering implicit definitions of these two concepts and exploring ways for educators to begin to grapple with the ways in which these models might complement or compete with one another.

How Deeper Learning Can Create a New Vision for Teaching

NCTAF | February 2016

Research indicates that great teaching has tremendous impact on student learning and achievement, particularly for poor students and students of color. With that in mind, this white paper focuses on the shift in teachers’ work and support that is necessary to help educators facilitate rich, meaningful learning experiences for all students.

Formative assessment for next generation science standards: A proposed model

Educational Testing Service | January 2016

This report offers a review of research on formative assessment, and offers a conceptual model to guide the use of formative assessment in gauging student learning in science aligned with the new Next Generation Science Standards.

The Intersection of Afterschool & Competency-Based Learning: Emerging Trends, Policy Considerations, & Questions for the Future

American Youth Policy Forum | January 2016

The American Youth Policy Forum explores the intersection of out-of-school time programs and competency-based learning as a potential strategy for promoting students' college and career readiness skills. This report highlights three trends: understanding and defining learner competencies; competencies as currency for course credit; and badges as translators of competencies.

Deeper Learning Research Series: Deeper Teaching

Jobs for the Future | December 2015

This paper offers a definition of "deeper teaching"—the kinds of instructional strategies and moment-by-moment teaching decisions that enable students to learn deeply—and describes the kinds of early-career guidance and supports that teachers need to understand what deeper teaching entails and to put it into practice.

The Why, What, When, Where and How of Deeper Learning in American Secondary Schools

Jobs for the Future | December 2015

Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine put the deeper learning movement in historical context and describe their research into schools that are attempting to embrace the goals of deeper learning for all of their students. The paper concludes with suggestions for re-envisioning the industrial model of public schooling inherited from the early 20th century in order to build an educational system that supports and sustains deeper learning.

The Implications of Deeper Learning for Adolescent Immigrants and English Language Learners

Jobs for the Future | November 2015

This paper from Jobs for the Future maintains that the nation’s immigrant students and English language learners are better equipped to benefit from focused, critical, and engaging classroom instruction than non-immigrant, monolingual students. However, before immigrant students and English language learners can benefit from deeper learning practices, the view that they are deficient and in need of remediation must be reframed. This paper goes on to discuss strategies on reframing the conversation in a way that includes immigrant students and English language learners in a broader deeper learning context.

What is Deeper Learning Anyway?

National Institute for Student-Centered Education | October 2015

What Does Evidence-Based Instruction in Social and Emotional Learning Actually Look Like in Practice? A Brief on Findings from CASEL’s Program Reviews

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning | October 2015

In this brief the authors use the CASEL reviews of evidence-based programs to answer the question, “What do teachers and other adults actually need to do in the classroom and school to help students achieve the goals laid out in social and emotional learning (SEL) standards?” Specifically, they identify and describe four approaches that have been successfully used to promote social and emotional development in students.

How School Districts Can Support Deeper Learning: The Need for Performance Alignment

Jobs for the Future | October 2015

This executive summary discusses the following: (1) deeper learning and its connection to central offices; (2) why the change to facilitate deeper learning is difficult for central offices; (3) how central offices can support systemwide deeper learning; and (4) recommendations for engaging central office staff members in redesigning their roles.

An Introduction to Deeper Learning

National Institute for Student-Centered Education | September 2015

The ambitions behind Deeper Learning—primarily to create students that are more independent, self-directed, and better prepared to cope with the modern demands of college, careers, and the world at large—are broadly popular. Nonetheless, schools that have truly managed to exemplify the conditions of Deeper Learning still represent a small percentage of the American education system at a time when the need for bold change is of critical importance. By the end of the workshop, participants will understand the definition of Deeper Learning (DL) outcomes; the conditions that have to be in place to support DL; and the tools to create a plan to successfully implement structures and practices that support Deeper Learning.

Partners in Crafting Competency-Based Pathways to College and Career Readiness

Great Lakes & Midwest Regional Deeper Learning Initiative | September 2015

This resource was produced as part of the Great Lakes and Midwest Regional Deeper Learning Initiative and is intended to illustrate the various ways in which state education agencies can advance competency-based education (CBE) initiatives. This resource provides an overview of CBE and a guiding action framework to advance CBE strategies. The resource also offers selected profiles of CBE-related work within the region and a list of CBE resources.

Deeper Learning: A Primer for State Legislators

Education Commission of the States | September 2015

This primer from Education Commission of the States provides a definition of deeper learning, describes how it corresponds with other learning approaches, and explores how it is being implemented as policy at the state level. It also offers a list of deeper learning resources.

Social and Emotional Learning Practices: A Self-Reflection Tool for Afterschool Staff

American Institutes for Research | September 2015

This self-reflection tool focuses on five social and emotional competencies, including self-awareness, self-management/emotion regulation, social awareness, relationship/social skills, and responsible decisionmaking. The tool is designed to help afterschool program staff reflect upon their own social and emotional competencies and their ability to support young people's SEL through program practices.

Arts Integration as a Strategy to Improve Teaching and Learning, Promote Personal Competencies, and Turn Around Low-Performing Schools

Center on School Turnaround | September 2015

This paper looks at the ways that arts integration can affect student achievement through enhancing students’ personal competencies that propel learning. The authors explain arts integration and include a study of an Oklahoma school that achieved results in students’ learning by integrating the arts into the curriculum.

Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-centered Teaching

Jobs for the Future & The Council of Chief State School Officers | August 2015

Jobs for the Future and the Council of Chief State School Officers have developed educator competencies for personalized, learner-centered teaching. The competencies are meant to serve as a first step in identifying the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that educators need in order to create and thrive in effective personalized, learner-centered environments.

A State Policy Framework for Scaling Personalized Learning

KnowledgeWorks | August 2015

With support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, new research from KnowledgeWorks examines how states can help districts shape conditions to scale up personalized learning environments.

Deeper Learning for Students with Disabilities

Jobs for the Future | August 2015

Part of the Students At The Center series

Deeper Learning: Improving Student Outcomes for College, Career, and Civic Life

Education Policy Center | August 2015

This report, from AIR's Education Policy Center, highlights recent research suggesting that a focus on deeper learning produces a number of positivelearning outcomes for students, regardless of their backgrounds. Students who attended a set of schools in networks associated with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Deeper Learning Community of Practice attained better educational outcomes than students in non-network comparison schools across several indicators, including academic outcomes, inter- and intra-personal skills, graduation, and postsecondary enrollment.

State Approaches to Competency-Based Education to Support College and Career Readiness for All Students

College & Career Readiness & Success Center | August 2015

This policy brief from the College and Career Readiness and Success Center highlights core elements of competency-based education (CBE), provides state policy examples, and explores how CBE is used to support college and career readiness.

Building a Strong Relationship between Competency-Based Pathways and Career Technical Education

Achieve | July 2015

This brief identifies opportunities for collaboration, integration, and strengthened relationships between CBP and CTE leaders. It explores the leverage points and challenges to integrating CTE into a CBP system, and where possible, offers examples of how states and local districts have started the journey to do so. Key questions are provided to help state and local leaders consider how CTE is, can, and should be a part of their CBP strategies.

The Role of Learning Progressions in Competency-Based Pathways

Achieve | July 2015

After a series of conversations with experts in the learning sciences, Achieve convened a set of state leaders, researchers and practitioners to identify promising efforts and steps to ensure state and district leaders can utilize this growing base of research. This report captures key findings from that conversation and identifies areas for further work.

Incorporating Social and Emotional Learning Into Classroom Instruction and Educator Effectiveness: A Toolkit for Tennessee Teachers and Administrators

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders | July 2015

This toolkit provides educators with resources for integrating social and emotional learning into their classrooms through Tennessee’s teacher evaluation system, the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM). Although the Toolkit is aligned with the TEAM model, other states and districts can also use the example teacher activities, student behaviors, model lessons, and discussion prompts to promote social and emotional learning in their classrooms.

Motivation Matters: How New Research Can Help Teachers Boost Student Engagement

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching | July 2015

This report aims to help educators and policymakers understand the complex topic of student motivation. Authors Susan Headden and Sarah McKay define key terms, discuss new research findings, and examine promising classroom strategies for improving students’ engagement in learning.

Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders

ComptencyWorks | June 2015

This report from ComptencyWorks, "Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders," is designed to help districts move from traditional educational models to personalized and competency-based environments to meet individual student needs.

Competency-Based Education Letter to Postsecondary Accrediting Agencies

U.S. Department of Education | June 2015

This is a letter from the U.S. Education Department to accrediting agencies outlining criteria for determining the quality of postsecondary competency-based education programs. The department's letter also described requirements for a meaningful faculty role in competency-based education, including students' ability to interact directly with instructors.

Competency-Based Education Statement from Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions

Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions | June 2015

The Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions issued a common framework for how to assess and approve competency-based programs.

Preparing Leaders for Deeper Learning

Getting Smart | May 2015

This paper outlines the attributes of next-generation teacher preparation and makes recommendations for supporting the redesign of teacher preparation and development systems so as to equip teachers to create and thrive in deeper learning environments.

Deeper learning: Policies for a 21st century education.

National Association of State Boards of Education | May 2015

This report from the National Association of State Boards of Education aims to help state boards provide students with more deeper learning opportunities as well as guidance on how to facilitate board-level conversations on key related topics. It offers state examples and worksheets that state boards can use to direct discussions.

Forum Guide to College and Career Ready Data

National Forum for Education Statistics | May 2015

The Forum Guide to College and Career Ready Data examines how data are being used to support CCR initiatives. Each of the guide's use cases includes policy and program questions to consider, a list of key data needs, useful analytics, suggested feedback to request from data users, and emerging needs related to the data use.

Assessment to Support Competency-Based Pathways

Achieve | April 2015

A core tenet of competency-based pathways (CBP) is that accurate, credible and useful student assessment information plays an essential role in supporting learning. Assessments should be a meaningful learning experience for students, provide rich information to educators so they can provide targeted support to students, and send students and parents clear signals about students’ readiness for next steps. This document addresses the role of summative assessment in supporting CBP, clarifies key assessment challenges, and provides examples and recommendations that will be useful in guiding those who wish to design and implement assessment systems to support CBP.

Implementing Project Based Learning in a Public School Setting

National Institute for Student-Centered Education | April 2015

In this session, participants will explore eight essential elements of project based learning; outline methods for developing a short action plan on how to approach your community or administration on the possibility of utilizing PBL; and identify possible solutions to common community-based questions on “Why should our district or school be exploring project-based learning?”.

Everybody Learns: Communication Tool Kits

Competency Works | April 2015

This post highligths three resources that are helpful for communication about student-centered and competency-based education.

Social and Emotional Skills for Life and Career: Policy Levers that Focus on the Whole Child

Center on Great Teachers & Leaders | March 2015

This policy snapshot from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders summarizes existing research on the effects that education has on students’ social and emotional skills and offers insights into policy considerations for integrating and initiating SEL.

Deeper Learning Planning Guide

Monica Martinez | March 2015

Based on the Hewlett Foundation’s book Deeper Learning: How Eight Public Schools Are Transforming Education in the 21st Century, this tool provides guidance on how schools can best create the conditions and strategies needed to advance deeper learning practices.

Is Your Child’s School Student-Centered? A Checklist for School Visits

Getting Smart | March 2015

Directed at parents, Bonnie Lathram's 3/21/15 blog outlines the 4 student-centered domains determined by The Nellie Mae Education Foundation. It details 12 specific characteristics that student-centered learning schools exhibit and provides 8 questions for parents to engage their school leadership with.

Webinar: Transforming Schools Using Project-Based Learning, Performance Assessment, and Common Core State Standards

Alliance for Excellent Education | March 2015

On March 10, 2015, the Alliance for Excellent Education held an in-depth discussion on how innovative schools can use performance assessment and project-based learning to transform education and improve learning for all students. This webinar examined a highly effective school network that has demonstrated how a new approach can enable all students to graduate from high school and succeed in college.

Developing a System of Micro-credentials: Supporting Deeper Learning in the Classroom

Digital Promise | March 2015

Teachers earn credentials at the beginning of their careers, but they learn new skills every day. While teachers are recognized for the time they spend in formal professional development settings, they often don’t have the opportunity to demonstrate the full breadth of what they have learned, including in informal contexts. To address this, Digital Promise is building a system of micro-credentials to provide professional educators a new way to identify competencies they are developing and gain recognition for the skills they learn throughout their careers.

Building Consensus and Momentum: A Policy and Political Landscape for K-12 Competency Education

KnowledgeWorks | February 2015

This paper from KnowledgeWorks examines the various policy conversations occurring in K–12 competency education, especially in the areas of accountability, assessment, and support.

Multiple Measures for College Readiness

Education Commission of the States | February 2015

Seat time has long been the standard for measuring college readiness. Breaking away from tradition, this ECS Education Trends report examines multiple measures of college readiness aside from seat time and offers policy considerations for states.

Civic Education and Deeper Learning

Jobs for the Future | February 2015

This Jobs for the Future report argues that civic education has a vital role to play in pursuing deeper approaches to learning.

Managing Learning through Learning Profiles (Part 2 of 3)

National Institute for Student-Centered Education | February 2015

Participants will outline ways to better understand learning profiles and their value, review methods for data collection for using learning profiles effectively, and explore examples for using learning profiles to support content, process, and products.

Let’s Get Real: Deeper Learning and the Power of the Workplace

Hewlett Foundation | February 2015

In 2010, Jobs for the Future—with support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation—launched the Students at the Center initiative, an effort to identify, synthesize, and share research findings on effective approaches to teaching and learning at the high school level. The initiative began by commissioning a series of white papers on key topics in secondary schooling, such as student motivation and engagement, cognitive development, classroom assessment, educational technology, and mathematics and literacy instruction.

Innovative Schools in Michigan

League of Innovators | January 2015

In this report from the League of Innovators, two teachers describe their experience with flipped classrooms. Flipped classrooms reverse the order of traditional schoolwork by having students work on instructional material during the day while receiving online lectures from the teacher at night. This approach allows for greater personalization by allowing teachers to provide students with more individualized attention during class time.

Getting the Message Right Strategies for Articulating Competency Based Pathways to Diverse Audiences Webinar

Achieve and Council of Chief State School Officers | January 2015

In January 2015 Achieve and the Council for Chief State School Officers Innovation Lab Network held a technical assistance webinar highlighting resources that can be used to help communicate the value of and vision for competency-based pathways. This webinar was designed specifically for state education agency leaders, communication directors/public information officers, advocacy organization leaders, and others involved in planning and carrying out communication strategies around competency-based pathways. On the webinar, Achieve released a Communications Toolkit to aid state-level stakeholders in articulating the need for competency-based pathways.

The Carnegie Unit: A Century-Old Standard in a Changing Education Landscape

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching | January 2015

This report from the Carnegie Foundation maintains that policymakers need to systemically test new learning standards, high-quality assessments, and accountability models in order to make U.S. education more transparent.

Personalized Learning in Wisconsin: FLIGHT Academy

Center on Innovations in Learning | January 2015

This report from the Center on Innovations in Learning examines a FLIGHT Academy school in Wisconsin, a personalized learning program that operates within a traditional school model, through firsthand accounts of the educators who designed and implemented the program.

Meeting the Learning Needs of all Students (Part 1 of 3)

National Institute for Student-Centered Education | January 2015

Participants that view this session will outline ways to better understand the relationship of DI Readiness and Formative Assessments; explore examples of DI Readiness to teacher planning of Content, Process, and Products; and reflect on their next steps for incorporating these DI Readiness concepts.

Innovation in Action: State Pathways for Advancing Student-Centered Learning

Council of Chief State School Officers | January 2015

This document provides an overview of the ILN vision and the Policy & Implementation Logic Model and provides examples of how state chiefs are using the Logic Model to put their vision into action. What sets this work apart from other state policy frameworks is that a dozen states around the country are actively leveraging this Logic Model to create coherent education systems that support learners as they prepare for college and careers.

2015 CASEL Guide: Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs—Middle and High School Edition

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning | January 2015

The CASEL Guide provides a systematic framework for evaluating the quality of social and emotional programs and applies this framework to identify and rate well-designed, evidence-based SEL programs with potential for broad dissemination to schools across the United States. The Guide also shares best-practice guidelines for district and school teams on how to select and implement SEL programs. Finally, it offers recommendations for future priorities to advance SEL research and practice.

Competency-Based Pathways Communication Toolkit

Achieve | January 2015

This “Competency-Based Pathways Communications Toolkit” was specifically designed for the needs of states, but can be adapted for use by districts, advocates and others involved in similar discussions. The tools include resources on how to message competency-based pathways, exemplars of powerful messages and stories, frequently asked questions, and detailed how-to-guides on getting the message right.

The Students at the Center Hub

Jobs for the Future and Nellie Mae Foundation | January 2015

The 4Cs Research Series

Partnership for 21st Century Learning | January 2015

In collaboration with research partners at the University of Connecticut, P21 released a research series on key aspects of conceptualizing, developing, and assessing each of the 4Cs of Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity in 2015. The briefs outline findings from research about what we already know, what we need to know, and what we can do to embed 4Cs into practice.

Supporting Formative Assessment for Deeper Learning: A Primer for Policymakers

Council of Chief State School Officers | December 2014

This report is a guide for policymakers to implement formative assessments for deeper learning. Effective formative assessment is essential to successfully implementing new college- and career-ready standards.

Laying the Foundation for Competency Education: A Policy Guide for the Next Generation Educator Workforce

KnowledgeWorks and iNACOL | November 2014

This paper provides a vision and set of policy recommendations to help federal, state, and local leaders develop the workforce necessary to support teaching and learning in a competency-based K-12 education system.

District Conditions for Scale: A Practical Guide to Scaling Personalized Learning

KnowledgeWorks | November 2014

Over the past few years there have been numerous publications, reports, and briefs released that focus on the elements of an innovative school from a programmatic and a policy standpoint Personalized learning, broadly speaking, is stuck in the school pilot phase. There are countless examples of personalized learning environments, models, and schools from coast to coast. But how are the other students in that district being educated? One important step in this work is to identify the conditions for scale that exist at a district level. In other words, what are the conditions that a K-12 school district should put in place to support the scaling of personalized learning? This paper discusses ten key district conditions, explore the cross cutting meta themes, and begin to build the alignment between the district conditions and state policy levers.

Equity in Competency Education: Realizing the Potential, Overcoming the Obstacles

Students at the Center | November 2014

Equity is both a central goal and fundamental value of competency education. Competency-based approaches are designed to promote equity by preventing students from falling behind or staying behind. In practice, however, poorly implemented competency-based programs could inadvertently increase inequity—in opportunities and in outcomes. Equity in Competency Education: Realizing the Potential, Overcoming the Obstacles—the second paper of Students at the Center's Competency Education Research Series—examines equity concerns in competency education through the lens of family income, exploring the effects and implications, as well as proposing potential mitigations.

Skills for Success: Supporting and Assessing Key Habits, Mindsets, and Skills in PreK-12

New America Foundation | November 2014

Based on a review of the research and strategies discussed within this paper, New America makes several recommendations for how various entities— federal and state governments, LEAs and schools, and research institutions—can encourage progress on developing certain skills for success in schools, PreK–12.

The Past and the Promise: Today's Competency Education Movement

Jobs for the Future | September 2014

This first paper in Students at the Center's Competency Education Research Series explores several essential aspects of today’s competency education reforms, including policy drivers, historical context, research and theory on effective student-centered learning, and current opportunities and challenges.

How to Explore, Organize, and Achieve Success in a Competency-Based Model

National Institute for Student-Centered Education | August 2014

Exploring, organizing and achieving success and sustainability in creating learning around competency-based models of education is a top-priority to many educators who are trying to reach a more diverse population of students. In this session, participants will learn how to outline a curation process; explore how personalized learning and competency-based education can social, emotional, and cogntive skills; evaluate methods for collecting data on student learning and experiences; and examine comprehensive ways to organize schoolwork leading to college and career-ready goals.

Advancing Competency-Based Pathways to College and Career Readiness Series: The Imperative for State Leadership

Achieve | July 2014

Across states, what this competency-based system looks like, and how states transition to it, will vary based on state priorities and context — which only reinforces the value of state leadership to find the route that fits best. But one thing is true across all states — the journey to change from a traditional system to a competency-based system that succeeds in helping far more students be prepared for college and career will require strong and steady leadership. This work is complicated and challenging, but worthwhile. This paper is designed to provide guidance to state leaders to ensure that their efforts translate into the right actions in districts and schools and then into solid results for students.

Blended Learning: Bringing Personalized Education to Scale

National Association of State Boards of Education | July 2014

This guide from the National Association of State Boards of Education is designed to aid discussion on state educational goals regarding blended learning. It provides an overview of its potential to personalize education, action steps states can take, and includes worksheets aimed at facilitating policy discussions.

Speak Out, Listen Up! Tools for Using Student Perspectives and Local Data for School Improvement

REL West and Washoe County School District | July 2014

The purpose of this toolkit is to provide educators with a purposeful and systematic way to elicit and listen to student voice to inform school improvement efforts. The toolkit offers three tools: ASK (Analyzing Surveys with Kids), Inside-Outside Fishbowl, and S4 (Students Studying Students’ Stories).

Advancing Competency-Based Pathways to College and Career Readiness: A State Policy Framework for Graduation Requirements, Assessment and Accountability

Achieve | July 2014

States across the nation are turning their aspirations for college and career readiness for all students into action. They are moving beyond policy and practice centered on a floor — aiming for students to attain minimal proficiency on basic academic standards — to a new focus on ensuring that all students develop the capacity to demonstrate mastery of content and skills toward and beyond college and career readiness.

Student-centered schools: Closing the Opportunity Gap

Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education | June 2014

SCOPE has now released the culminating research from its Student-Centered Schools Study: a cross-case analysis, a technical report, a research and policy brief, and an interactive online tool for educators. Together, these pieces offer evidence of the positive impact of student-centered learning and practical hands-on tools educators can use to reflect on and develop their practice.

Roadmap for Competency-based Systems: Leveraging Next Generation Technologies

Innovation Lab Network and 2Revolutions | June 2014

This is a guide to inform state and district leaders of the technology specifications and tools that support a shift toward a competency-based system. The guide is broken down to different levels of progression, from entry to transforming.

Social and Emotional Learning in the Daily Life of Classrooms

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders | April 2014

Regional technical assistance providers and state and district leaders can use this module to: (1) Deepen their knowledge and skills for integrating a social and emotional learning emphasis into their policy and planning work (2) Strengthen connections between social and emotional learning, the Common Core State Standards, and teacher evaluation and professional development systems, and (3) learn strategies for supporting school leaders in guiding teachers to reflect on their own teaching practices and social and emotional competencies.

Assessing Deeper Learning: A Survey of Performance Assessment and Mastery-Tracking Tools

Getting Smart | April 2014

This report outlines twelve key features of a performance based assessment system including; interoperability, calibration of scores, a library of tasks, support for multiple revisions and collaboration, standards-based project rubrics, available professional development, reporting tools, customization, student portfolio development, an updated user experience and an affordable price tag.

Technology-Enabled Personalized Learning

Friday Institute for Educational Innovation | February 2014

This report highlights how to use technology to support personalized learning goals. The report is based on findings from a summit held by North Carolina State University's Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and identifies five essential ingredients for personalized learning.

Self-Assessing Social and Emotional Instruction and Competencies: A Tool for Teachers

Yoder, N. | February 2014

In this tool, teachers can self-assess on 10 teaching practices that support social and emotional learning for students. The self-assessment tool, however, goes beyond these 10 teaching practices to include five teacher social and emotional competencies for users to reflect on.

Putting Students At The Center

Nellie Mae Foundation & Jobs for the Future | January 2014

This reference guide shares current research and tools for practitioners to use as they support students in reaching college and career readiness and civic engagement outcomes. It includes a list of learning approaches and tools available to all stakeholders interested in implementing student-centered learning environments.

Personal Competencies In Personalized Learning

Center on Innovations in Learning | January 2014

This paper lays out a framework for personal competencies that is largely aligned with the deeper learning competencies and looks at the role of the school community, the school, and the classroom teacher in delivering personalized instruction across the competencies.

The Something Other: Personal Competencies For Learning And Life

Center on Innovations in Learning | January 2014

These case studies from the Center on Innovations in Learning demonstrate what personalized learning looks like in practice.

Fundamentals of Learning

Center for Standards and Assessment Implementation | January 2014

This report, part of a series by the Center for Standards and Assessment Implementation, provides a framework to help educators transition to the classroom practices needed to ensure that students meet new college- and career-ready standards.

Getting A Handle On The Standards

Center for Standards and Assessment Implementation | January 2014

This report, part of a series from the Center for Standards and Assessment Implementation, discusses the key instructional shifts within new college- and career-ready standards.

Competency-based Education: Supporting Personalized Learning

Center on Innovations In Learning | January 2014

This issue brief is the first in a series produced by the Center on Innovations in Learning’s League of Innovators. The series will describe, discuss, and analyze policies and practices that enable personalization in education. Topics should be of particular interest to state education agencies and district and school personnel. This first issue overviews the complexities of implementing competencybased education, a component of personalization that has received growing attention.

The Student-Centered School

NISCE | January 2014

This document builds on the earlier white paper and attempts to characterize the elements that make a school more or less ‘student-centered.’ Drawing on research into creating positive school cultures, developing intentional relationships and building outstanding leadership, the author then introduces an instructional model for consideration. Dubbed the “NISCE Instructional Model,” it reflects a belief in supporting the ‘whole teacher’ as a means for teaching the ‘whole student.’

Teaching the Whole Child: Instructional Practices That Support Social-Emotional Learning in Three Teacher Evaluation Frameworks

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders | January 2014

This Research-to-Practice Brief is the first of its kind to cover the following: Identifies the instructional practices that promote student social-emotional learning, which in turn are critical for student academic learning. Showcases how three popular teacher evaluation frameworks (the Danielson Framework for Teaching, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System observation instrument, and the Marzano observation protocol) embed practices that influence not only student academic learning but also student social and emotional competencies.

Deeper Learning for Every Student Every Day

Getting Smart | January 2014

This report highlights how select schools throughout the nation are working to promote deeper learning through personalized, blended and project-based learning strategies. This report also tackles myths about deeper learning implementation, such as: 1) it costs more than traditional education, 2) requires master teachers, and 3) is only for high performing schools. Lastly, the appendix offers a profile for each school selected for this report.

Competency Education Series: Policy Brief One

KnowledgeWorks | April 2013

Part one of the Competency-Based Education Series includes a working definition for competency education, examples of states doing the ground breaking work in this area and an appropriate role for the federal government to remove policy barriers and to create diagnostic and assessment tools to measure effectiveness.

Deeper Learning Defined

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation | March 2013

What is deeper learning? This overview document from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation defines the six deeper learning competencies and what deeper learning looks like for students.

Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions: The Innovation Lab Network State Framework for College, Career, and Citizenship Readiness, and Implications for State Policy

Council of Chief State School Officers | February 2013

This white paper provides a framework for defining college and career readiness consistent with deeper learning, and describes policy and implementation considerations for states adopting or adapting the framework.

Employability Skills Framework

Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education | January 2013

The Employability Skills Framework is a one-stop resource from the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education for information and tools to inform the instruction and assessment of employability skills, which have a significant amount in common with deeper learning competencies.

Developing and Refining Lessons: Planning Learning and Formative Assessment for College and Career Ready Standards

Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation | January 2013

This resource is part of a series produced by the Center for Standards and Assessment Implementation (CSAI) to assist teachers and those who support teachers to plan teaching and learning from College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) for diverse learners. Four tools are provided to support teachers in the design of daily lessons that support student learning of CCRS. Throughout the resource, these planning tools are previewed in miniature and annotated, in order to help teachers see how the tools relate to the concepts discussed.

Student-centered assessment: Self-assessment.

Students at the Center | January 2013

Self-assessment is simply a matter of having students identify strengths and weaknesses in their own work and revise accordingly. It is a tool that can promote learning if it is used while the learning is taking place. In order for self-assessment to be effective, students must be able to use their self-generated feedback to revise and improve their work before it is due for grading.

Personalization In Schools

Jobs for the Future | January 2012

This policy brief discusses various personalization models that are utilized in schools and provides districts and teachers with options and examples of personalization in practice.

Assessing Deeper Learning

Alliance for Excellent Education | July 2011

This brief shows what assessments that measure deeper learning would look like, how they are used in other countries, how technology can support their development, and how they can be implemented feasibly.

Putting Student-Centered Education in Context

National Institute for Student-Centered Education |

This paper extends the definition of ‘student-centered education’ beyond its traditional use, noting that it is “not a single technique or single model. Rather it is a set of attitudes, skills and considerations that affect the way an educator or school will approach learners. It recognizes the individuality of each student and, by extension, the primary importance of the relationship between learners and teachers.”