Competency Education & Grading


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.


Chichester Central School Grading Scale

E – Exceeds

The 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.

M – Meets

The student has consistently and independently demonstrated the ability to apply content and skills in at given task.

P – Progressing

The student demonstrates partial proficiency and is progressing toward

competency attainment.

B – Beginning

The student does not yet understand key concepts and skills and is working toward this competency goal.

IE – Insufficient Evidence

Student has not provided evidence of learning.

NYA – Not Yet Assessed

The specific skills have not been assessed at this point in the school year.



The term competency-based education, as defined by CompetencyWorks, refers to a systems model in which (1) teaching and learning are designed to ensure students are becoming proficient by advancing on demonstrated mastery and (2) schools are organized to provide timely and differentiated support to ensure equity. A competency-based structure enables personalized learning to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible. With clear and calibrated understanding of proficiency, learning can be tailored to each student’s strengths, needs, and interests and enable student voice and choice in what, how, when, and where they learn.

    • Students advance upon demonstrated mastery.

    • Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students.

    • Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.

    • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.

  • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.

You will have many questions as we make this shift this year.  As a way to begin to answer your questions and develop a list of information to frequently asked questions, please use this google form in order to pose questions.