Competency Based Education and Grading System


As educational systems increasingly focus on what is best for students and how educators can support students in their pursuit of learning, Competency Based Education has risen to the forefront of practices and philosophies that actually work. Competency Based Education includes a shift from thinking about what a teacher has taught, to what a student has learned and can demonstrate. Traditional educational systems may include behavior, attendance, and effort when calculating a student’s grade. Competency Based Education removes these factors from the academic grade, focusing solely on the content standards that a student is expected to learn. This separation will allow more transparency for teachers, students, and parents to best understand where a student is thriving and areas that are more challenging and need more focus and support.

What is a Competency:

At its most basic level, a competency is a learning standard that a student must demonstrate the ability to achieve. Competencies include knowledge, skills, and abilities that a student is charged with mastering through the learning process. A competency is achieved when a student demonstrates, through performance and over a period of time with multiple attempts, that they can use the knowledge, skills, and abilities learned. All competencies are measured against the Rubric Indicators noted in the Grade Scale below. In a true competency based system, a student’s demonstration of competency could occur any time, any place, in multiple ways, and are not bound by a school year or a specific assessment.

Competency Based Grading:

Grading a competency should be fluid and support an individual student’s growth based on their readiness to learn. In a competency based system, a student’s grade should reflect their trend in demonstrating their learning over a period of time. As such, more recent grades should be the best indication of a student’s proficiency of a competency, and should be weighted more than previous grades when a student may have had less time to create meaning or simply did not have as strong a grasp on a concept or skill. Likewise, if a student’s score trends downward throughout a unit of study, this indicates that the student is not mastering the content. Trending scores should only be calculated after several assessments have been attempted.

Grading Scale: UsingPOWER LAW FORMULA

A Competency Based Grading Scale is different than a traditional grading scale. Rather than giving students a score of 0-100, which includes a significant range for students to receive a failing grade, a competency based grading scale is based on specific language and a rubric that explains a student’s level of performance.

Level of Competency Indicator

(PD) Proficient with Distinction with CompetencyThe student has consistently and independently demonstrated the ability to analyze and synthesize content specific knowledge and skills in a new task, across content areas, or in an authentic experience.

(P) Proficient with CompetencyThe student has consistently and independently demonstrated the ability to apply and transfer content specific knowledge and skills in a new task, across content areas, or in an authentic experience.

(PP) Partially ProficientThe student demonstrates the ability to comprehend and apply content specific knowledge and skills in a familiar task.

(NYP)Not Yet Proficient The student is not currently demonstrating the application and transfer of content specific knowledge, and skills.

(IE) Insufficient Evidence The student has not yet produced sufficient work to assess competence.

(NYA) Not Yet Assessed The specific skills have not been assessed at this point in the school year.

Work Study Practices:

The New Hampshire Department of Education, in conjunction with teachers, administrators, educational researchers, accreditation organizations, and education foundation partners, has adopted a set of standards to assess students on non-academic skills that are important to master in order to be successful in life after high school. These Work Study Practices include: Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Regulation. Specific skills addressed under each of these Practices include:

**Essential Skill **

**“I Can” Statements **

Level of Competency

for a Skill

Cooperation-I can interact well with peers in a group.

SA- Strongly Agree

AG- Agree

DI- Disagree

SD- Strongly Disagree


-I can seek help when needed

-I can participate in class


-I can complete assigned tasks in a quality manner

**Empathy **

-I can show respect for others and property

Self- Regulation / Control

-I can take responsibility for one’s own action