Project 2: Ohio’s Competency-Based Education Pilot Program

State Plan

Graduate more students with college- and career-ready skills through the implementation, evaluation, and scale-up of competency-based education programs.

Ohio legislation (H.B. 64), passed in July 2015, established a Competency-Based Education Pilot Program to provide grants to five pilot program sites:  ESC of Cuyahoga County (includes Innovation Lab Network Schools); Geauga County ESC (STEM Schools), Chagrin Falls Exempted Village, Fairfield County ESC (Career Tech Centers), and Cincinnati City Schools.  These pilot program sites were selected based upon an RFP and proposal application process.  Requirements of pilot program sites include:  (1) students advance upon mastery; (2) competencies should include clear, measureable, transferable learning objectives; (3) assessment shall be meaningful and a learning experience; (4) students shall receive timely, differentiated support based on individual learning needs, (5) learning outcomes shall emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge along with work-ready skills, and (6) incorporate partnerships with post-secondary institutions and industry. Each pilot program site is developing their local CBE program based upon their proposal, and ODE must support these sites by providing overarching shared competencies and by reviewing implementation of these CBE programs.   

ODE would like to scale-up CBE programs to other districts and consortia in Ohio and to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs in terms of student achievement outcomes, remediation rates, graduation rates, and changes in structures and policies.  In Year 4, GLCC and CIL served as thought partners to an internal CBE planning team organized through ODE’s Office of Innovation. GLCC and CIL presented several sessions at the CBE kickoff meeting in January 2016 and arranged for Wendy Surr of AIR’s Deeper Learning Initiative to be the keynote speaker for this meeting. GLCC and CIL also shared CBE work from Iowa and other states as a model for developing competencies. These approaches to competency development included the adaptation and use of a Competency Validation Rubric. As a result, with input from CBE pilot program sites, ODE content staff developed overarching competencies from existing state content standards in science, mathematics, English language arts, and social studies. CBE pilot program sites will use these overarching competencies to develop unit or course-based competencies.   

In Year 5, CBE pilot program districts will begin using these competencies to develop instruction and assessments. GLCC will collaborate with CSAI to support the use of their comprehensive assessment framework tailored for CBE programs. GLCC will also utilize the expertise of CIL to work with pilot program sites to ensure that CBE programs reflect a personalized learning approach to instruction. Because many of these CBE pilot program sites are focused on secondary implementation of CBE programs, GLCC also will collaborate with the Cuyahoga ESC consortium site and with the CCRS Center to pilot the development or application of post-articulation agreements with their higher education partners.

Progress to Date: GLCC…

  • Supported the creation of the pilot program RFP through practice-based experience of other state competency-education efforts, notably New Hampshire and Iowa.
  • Collaborated with ODE staff to conduct a full-day CBE pilot program orientation and in-service for cross-office ODE staff; this in-service also focused on implications of CBE for other parts of the educational system like policy and accountability, curriculum and assessment, and exceptional children.
  • Collaborated with ODE internal team to host a CBE launch that included AIR’s Deeper Learning Initiative (Wendy Surr) and staff from the Center on Innovation in Learning.
  • Designed and conducted with ODE a series of content-focused workgroup sessions to develop shared competencies that were derived from state standards. 

Research and Resources

This project will include resources from and partnerships with the AIR Deeper Learning Initiative, the Center on Innovations in Learning, the College and Career Readiness and Success Center, the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, and the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center.