Statements that describe the combination of skills, knowledge, characteristics, aptitudes, and traits which contribute to high performance. A competency is something one can do often, in many situations, and with strong results.
"One helpful approach to defining competencies is to settle on a simple taxonomic structure. For example, a competency is a ""grouping of skills and knowledge."" With this structure, each competency would have its own title (e.g. ""Reading Literature"") or competency statement (e.g. ""Read literary texts independently and proficiently), and then nested beneath it would be the specific, measurable skills by which a learner's performance can be evaluated (e.g. ""Identify the main idea"" and ""Analyze the developments of the text"").
In our review of models in the field, It is often the nested ""skills"" that are derived from learning standards. Because not all academic standards are equal in terms of their level of granularity, sometimes a single standard represents one measurable skill (often the case with Common Core ELA standards) of a competency, while sometimes a single standard needs to be broken up into several ""skills"" (the case with many Common Core Math standards).
Remember that the key to competencies is that they require students to have mastered standards at a deep enough level that they can apply their learning to challenging performance tasks.
Explore our featured Designer's Guide--""Competency Adoption Guide""--to support your work in adopting, adapting or creating competencies that are aligned to your mission and vision."
Tips for a Short Implementation Time-Line
It takes years to design a fully-developed system, and the technology doesn't support it yet. We recommend that designers on a short timeline begin by a) adopting or adapting competencies from another system (such as Asia Society or Schools for the Future), and/or b) select a small set of competencies (such as literacy competencies derived from Common Core) to start with, and then broaden and deepen the competencies over time.