The Shift

Dimensions of Major Shifts from Traditional to Competency-Based Education

The major shifts in moving from traditional education to CBE happen at three levels within the school system: at the organizational level, the teaching-learning level, and the classroom level. As classrooms shift to a more personalized CBE focus, there needs to be alignment within and across the organizational level and teaching and learning structures in order to realize student centered practices in a classroom.

As you examine the different dimensions of the CBE shifts, you may notice that your school or district tends to be more traditional for some of these dimensions and more progressive toward CBE in others. This is a great vantage point for asking yourselves what portal of entry is best for your school to explore more formally in your transition to fully systemic, learner-centered, sustainable, competency-based education.

Click through the tabs below to view the full dimensions!

Download MAjor organizational shifts

Organizational Shifts




Professional Culture

Professional Learning

Traditional Descriptor

Policies constrain teaching and learning to cohort driven, time-based models for school structure within flexibility or opportunity to learn in various learning environments such as blended, online, and community-based learning opportunities.

Hierarchical structure with fixed  job roles.

Professional culture reflects top-down hierarchy with little collaborative decision making at the school or teacher level. Teachers isolated in their work roles.

Professional  development is directed through central office via whole group training. Professional  goal setting is generally individual with hours of activity accrued as evidence for further licensure. Class scheduling  isolates teachers within their work environments. Professional work constrained to after school work hours and in-service, student free sessions.


Competency-Based Education Descriptor

Local policies support the vision of the graduate--anytime, anyplace learning is supported, equity scan and review has taken place, proficiency is valued overtime and place, collective bargaining supports whatever it takes to reach the vision of the graduate.

Assessment policies and instructional support in aiding the more complex and integrated learning tasks and evidences.

Leadership roles are expanding to include teacher roles. Top-down hierarchy is flattened to  respect teacher leadership voice and role in supporting new paradigms in student learning.

Teachers own their learning as they determine their starting point in moving the principles of CBE and choose to work in collaborative learning groups with their peers. School schedules support collaborative work groups within the school day daily.

Professional goal setting by collaborative groups is prioritized. These groups focus their protocol-driven work on professional learning that supports the shift from  teacher-centered to personalized student learning. These groups meet frequently to prototype new strategies and examine student artifacts of learning. Priority in school scheduling allows collaborative work groups to meet frequently. These groups have open communication with administrators who facilitate and support the educators with resources to accomplish the group learning goals for their students.

Interested in learning how CBE Solutions can help you and your organization navigate the shift toward CBE through the use of reflective scales, professional development, or instructional coaching?

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