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What is the Difference between Standards-Based and Competency-Based Education?

The Difference Between Standards & Competency Based Education


A standards-based grading (SBG) philosophy is similar, but not synonymous with, the idea of competency-based education (CBE). SBG is a way of thinking about grading and assessment that more clearly communicates with parents and students how well learners currently understand the course objectives/standards/competencies.

CBE is a system in which students move from one level of learning to the next based on their understanding of pre-determined competencies without regard to seat time, days, or hours. A competency-based system may utilize a standards-based report card to communicate student learning; however, the two educational terms are not, by definition, the same.

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