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Please use comments to add any initiatives (multiple organizations working together towards a shared goal) that you know about that can inform the field.

Policy and Strategic Direction

Carnegie Unit Project

In 2013 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning launched a project with Hewlett Foundation support to revisit the Carnegie Unit, to explore approaches to measuring student progress that have the greatest possible potential to improve teaching and promote deeper learning in schools and colleges and universities. A metric of student progress that focuses on deeper learningone that values academic content as well as higher order thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and creation of new knowledgecould open up more and more cost-efficient pathways for students, provide more meaningful information to students and families, and enable institutions to continuously improve their practice. 

Research and Evaluation

Proficiency-Based Assessment and Reassessment of Learning Outcomes (PARLO)

The first formal study of competency-based learning is starting in 2010. The EASL Institute, supported by National Science Foundation funding, will partner with the 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education (21PSTEM) in a four-year research project studying attitudes and student success in learning mathematics when supported by outcomes-based assessment. The project, called Proficiency-Based Assessment and Reassessment of Learning Outcomes (PARLO), will incorporate EASL software as a crucial component of the project. 21PSTEM is based in the greater Philadelphia area and will engage ninth grade Algebra teachers from more than forty schools around the area.

Student-Centered Learning

Jobs for the Future with support from Nellie Mae Education Foundation is initiating a research project to uncover the elements of student-centered learning that can achieve the most impact and scale for providing each student with a 21st century education, as well as surfacing the institutional factors that facilitate or impede doing so.

District and School Innovation

CCSSO Next Generation Learning Partnership

 In partnership with seven states— Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin—CCSSO is launching innovation labs to support next generation learning that is rooted in six critical attributes of Next Generation Learning.

Oregon Proficiency Project

The Oregon Department of Education, the Center for Educational Leadership and three districts are piloting proficiency-based practices in high schools. Check out their Proficiency Portal

Proficiency-Based Pathways (See Making Mastery Work: A Close-Up View of Competency Education)

In 2010, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates) approached the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) about partnering to learn more about competency education models in New England.Both Gates and NMEF have a long-standing commitment to supporting educational models and programs that have the potential to increase student motivation and engagement in order to ratchet up achievement, particularly in communities where academic success remains elusive. Both see enormous promise in competency education, while realizing there is much about it that remains unknown. Thus they launched the Proficiency-Based Pathways project to support and foster understanding of current state-of-the-art competency education practices in New England.

Project Mastery

Jobs for the Future is supporting Adams County 50, Asia Society, and Philadelphia School District in planning for enhancing and expanding competency-based approaches. Funding is through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Knowledge Distribution and Transfer

CompetencyWorks offers news and information on competency education, case studies and more through a blog, issue briefings, webinars and a wiki.

American Youth Policy Forum has produced a number of forums on competency education. Archived video's and summaries are available.

College and Career Readiness and Success Center at AIR (CCRS Center) is organizing webinars on promising practices at the state and district level on competency-based education

Innovative Tools

Assessing 21st Century Skills

With support from the Mott Foundation, Wireless Generation is conducting necessary research and design work to develop a system to measure student performance in afterschool programs that will complement the national Common Core Standards Initiative. Building upon the latest technology and the idea that afterschool programs often bridge the public space of school and the private space of home, the overall goal of the assessment tool is to advance a student assessment system that measures 21st century skills, such as the ability to work on a team, along with core academic skills. In so doing, the tool will help incentivize greater accountability in afterschool programs and in schools for raising student performance in both academic and nonacademic areas. This grant supports the discovery phase of the project and will: 1) identify a set of afterschool partners to pilot a test version of the tool called ThirdSpace; 2) select the most appropriate metrics of 21st Century skills to include in ThirdSpace; 3) address the challenges that in-school and afterschool educators will face in implementing an afterschool assessment system; 4) develop a plan for how to build ThirdSpace, including the duration and resources necessary after the discovery phase, and how the grantee will apply its existing Honeycomb data-display technology; and 5) engage funders, states, and districts to support and invest in the development of the ThirdSpace system.