Ohio offers all of us a big lesson learned about how states can advance competency education. They have learned from experience that enabling policy isn’t enough, it is going to require incentives to engage districts in full systemic re-design. Several years ago, Ohio created credit flexibility that allowed for districts to award competency-based credits to students. Even though a district could have used this to create competency-based pathways or even make the transition to competency education, there was little uptake. So now the Ohio state legislature passed H.B. 64, which includes funds for pilots in competency-based education. (Go to page 2572 SECTION 263.280. to find information on the pilot.) The Ohio Department of Education is authorized to make two-year grants to five districts, schools, or consortia of districts and schools of up to $200,000 for each fiscal year.
Ohio is going to be a state to pay attention to, as they are also encouraging higher education to become competency-based, as well. Thus, we may start to see some innovations about how to create more seamless K-16 competency-based pathways.
Below is the testimony of iNACOL President and CEO Susan Patrick (and co-founder of CompetencyWorks) to the Ohio House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education regarding competency-based education:
Chairman Cupp and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of the competency-based education pilot program found in H.B. 64.
iNACOL is a non-profit organization with the mission to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and leads the CompetencyWorks initiative.
The competency-based education pilot is an important step for Ohio districts and schools to begin this transition towards providing personalized, competency-based learning to Ohio students.
The iNACOL/CCSSO definition of competency education has five elements:
- Students advance upon mastery;
- Competencies include explicit, learning objectives that empower students;
- Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students;
- Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual needs; and
- Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, and the development of important skills and dispositions.