- The Hechinger Report profiles the Dysart Innovation Academy in Surprise, AZ, where students use a form of competency-based learning to advance through curriculum, and to gain insight into their strengths and weaknesses as learners.
- Teachers monitor the progress of students who learn and complete work at individual paces, while being given information about which materials engage them most, what times of day they are most productive and other details.
- The district is one of the largest and highest performing in the state, and has used the data to dramatically improve outcomes.
Competency-based learning, provides students with insight into how they can develop strategies around learning and self-improvement, in order to more efficiently perform in the academic environment. It also helps ensure a better-prepared workforce, as student learning is centered around their strengths and interests, rather than a previously determined — and largely stagnant — curriculum.
Finding ways to play to students' strengths and interests, in addition to helping them to receive a more valuable educational experience, is key to universities looking to assert the relevance of their degree programs and attract new students to the institutions. In many cases, core requirements and curricula have not been revisited in decades. Why should a student who wants to major in communications be required to master algebra, when statistics might be a more relevant competency for his chosen career path, for instance?