Competency Based Progression

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Competency based progression is where each student’s progress toward clearly-defined goals is continually assessed. A student advances and earns credit as soon as he/she demonstrates mastery.

Students master skills at their own pace. Competency based systems may also create multiple pathways to graduation, make better use of technology and differentiate to meet the learning needs.

Here in Michigan we do provide a seat time waiver to districts that want to offer pupils access to online learning options and the opportunity to continue working on a high school diploma or grade progression without actually attending a school facility. Many students have taken advantage of this opportunity to advance on their own.  


1. What are ways you as a teacher can assist students to master skills at their own pace?

Ongoing Assessment is the key. Formative assessments are aligned with learning objectives and students receive immediate feedback when assessment occurs. This is used to encourage students to return to difficult concepts and skills until they achieve mastery. It is essential that assessments are student-centered, in which students are assessed on material with which they are familiar.

2. Check out the resources below for formative assessments. Kahoot, Socrative and Poll Everywhere are tools where you can even create questions on the fly and students can answer questions/polls on any device with an internet connection. 

Resource Name

 Type of Resource

     Suggestions for Use

Google Forms


Survey tool

Google Forms will produce a Google sheet with all responses. (First question should always be What is your name?) It can be a self graded quiz if used with Flubaroo add-in. Multiple response types allowed. Read more about Google Forms Flubaroo directions.



Online Quiz is game-like and somewhat competitive. Student who has correct answer first gets name displayed; plays music and uses sound effects. It has limited response types. Kahoot step by step guide.




Online Quiz

No technology required from students! Download a set of Plicker cards for multiple choice polling. Use your cell phone to capture student responses by scanning the room. Watch the video tutorial to learn more about Plicker. 

Poll Everywhere
polleverywhere (1)

Polling & Survey

Only one question at a time is allowed; students can use cell phones to text responses; instant (anonymous) results show up in graph form. Quickstart tutorial and a video tutorial .



Online Quiz

This is a free resource and does not require you or students to register. Once you create a quiz you will receive a URL to your Quiz which you can post or email to your students. Features include: no ads, four question types, and detailed reports which can be exported to and spreadsheet (csv). You can use a password code so only your students can take the quiz. Students will see their score and correct or incorrect answers. Registration (optional) requires a small fee if you decide to have more features. 


socrative (1) 

Online Quiz

Use Socrative for formative assessment. You can see graphs instantly showing overall class response; can also get a spreadsheet of individual results to download. Multiple response types allowed. Socrative YouTube Tutorial Channel.



3. Choose one of the formative assessment resources above. Create a formative assessment with at least five questions and use it with your students. Share the asssessment with your instructor.

Click here to move on to Flexible Learning Environments


Additional Articles and Resources for Competency Based Progression

U.S. Dept of Ed Competency Based Learning

Competency-Based Education is Not New


Addressing the ISTE Standards For Educators 

1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
1c. Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.

2b. Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
2c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, 
evaluation, curation and adoption of 
new digital resources and tools for learning.

5a. Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
5b. Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
5c. Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.

6a. Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
6b. Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on makerspaces or in the field.
6c. Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
6d. Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

7a. Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.
7b. Use technology to design and implement a variety of formative and summative assessments that accommodate learner needs, provide timely feedback to students and inform instruction.
7c. Use assessment data to guide progress and communicate with students, parents and education stakeholders to build student self-direction.


1. Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback;
2. Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers;
3. Summarizing & Notetaking;
4. Assigning Homework and Practice

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