Competency Pilot

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

Investigating CBE: What it Means to Shift Towards a Competency-Based System​

A webinar was presented by ISBE in partnership with the Midwest Comprehensive Center from 1-2 p.m. on Aug. 15. Investigating CBE: What it Means to Shift Towards a Competency-Based System was presented by Jen Sigrist, executive director of Media and Technology for the Central Rivers Area Education Agency in Iowa. Jen addressed the following questions: What is a competency-based system all about? How does it look different from a traditional classroom? We'll talked about what CBE is during this introductory webinar, what it looks like in the classroom, and how the shift toward CBE impacts the system in supporting learners to be ready for the future.​​​​

Webinar Recording​Vimeo Video Link

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!​

Learning Communities

 Learn More About Our Learning Communities

  • 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
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Tools You can Use





Additional Resources

 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​.​

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

Hear from some of our Learning Communities

Pockets of Innovation

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

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