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What is Competency-Based Education (CBE)?

Competency-based programs assess and advance students based on their demonstrated mastery of skills and knowledge. The competency-based model removes the constraints of “seat time” and allows for student-driven learning inside and outside of the classroom. This approach can make education more relevant both to students and to employers.

  • Allows for earning of credit toward graduation requirements in ways other than traditional coursework
  • Incorporates real-world knowledge and challenges
  • Students attain career-related competencies beyond those needed for high school graduation

CBE in Illinois

The Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness ActPDF Document was signed into law in July 2016. Section 20 of the act created the Competency-Based High School Graduation Requirements Pilot Program. Illinois currently has 45 participating districts!​

CBE in Action!


 Additional Resources

Tools You can Use

National Resources


 Learn More About Our Participating Sites

  • ISBE Press Release - December 20, 2018​​
  • ISBE Press Release - ​September 10, 2018
  • ISBE Press Release - ​March 22, 2018​
  • ​​ISBE Press Release - April 3, 2017​
  • Participating Sites
    • ​​

 Request for Application

As part of the Request for Application (RFA) process, districts select the year and course graduation requirement it wishes to replace with a competency-based learning system. If a district has a student population of fewer than 500,000, all of its high schools may participate in the pilot program. Districts with more than 500,000 students may only select six schools to participate in the project.​​​

The pilot project has two phases. The first phase is the RFA and the selection process. The second phase is the full development and implementation of a detailed plan for a competency-based learning system for high school graduation requirements.

Questions concerning the pilot program should be directed to competencypilot@isbe.net​.​

FY 2019 - Round 2
FY 2019 - Round 1
FY 2018 - Round 2
FY 2018 - Round 1
FY 2017

 Growing Leaders in Educational Innovation

Growing Leaders in Educational Innovation:
Competency-Based Tools you can use

An event was held on June 26, 2018, in Springfield for any Illinois districts interested in learning about competency​-based education.

Important Links:


Click a video from the list!

Click on link below to view the video


Pockets of Innovation

Not a pilot district? What innovative strategies are you using in your district? Please share...

Contact Information