Utah Senate Advances Competency-Based Education Grants Program

Utah Senate Advances Competency-Based Education Grants Program

Utah Senate Advances Competency-Based Education Grants Program

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Utah Senate passed SB 143, a bill to establish the Competency-Based Education Grants Program where students advance to higher levels of learning when they demonstrate mastery of concepts and skills—regardless of time, place or pace.

“Every student learns at a different pace. Utah’s leaders are taking steps to design an education system that meets students at their learning level, challenges them to exceed expectations and prepares them for college and career,” said ExcelinEd in Action National Legislative Director J. Alex Kelly.

“ExcelinEd in Action thanks Senate Education Committee Chair Ann Millner, bill sponsor Senator Howard Stephenson and Interim State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson for supporting this legislation.”

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Learn more about SB 143:

  • In the current system, all students move at the same pace, whether or not each student has fully mastered the content.
  • Schools may apply for grants and applications must include a plan for schoolwide implementation of competency-based education, demonstrate local governing board support and include communication plan for teachers, parents and community members.
  • This legislation will give the teachers and principals of grantees the opportunity to better customize their students’ education, empowering them to plan, implement and scale their own approaches to competency-based education at the local level.
  • Applicants may include requests for a waiver of a Board rule that inhibits or hinders implementation as well as recommended statutory changes. The State Board may in turn make a recommendation to the Legislature.
  • Institutions of higher education will recognize and accept a diploma awarded to a student that attended a competency-based school.
  • A student may not be penalized if transferring from a competency-based education school.
  • The State Board of Education will define outcome-based measures of successful implementation.

More about Competency-based Education: 

  • Competency-based education (also called mastery or proficiency-based education) is a system of instruction where students do not move on to the next concept or skill until they have shown that they have learned (or mastered) the current concept or skill. This approach reduces the development of gaps in student knowledge, particularly in fundamental skills, which can cause problems as students advance to more complex concepts.
  • In a competency-based education system, an individual student progresses as learning expectations are met, rather than moving through a predetermined curriculum schedule dictated by fixed, age-based grade levels or seat-time requirements (sometimes expressed as Carnegie Units or credit hours).
  • A student can accelerate through concepts and skills they have mastered when they are ready to move on, and receive more time and support in areas they have not yet mastered.