Competency Based Progression

assessment shutterstock image

 Competency based progression is where each student’s progress toward clearly-defined goals is continually assessed. A student advances and earns credit as soon as he/she demonstrates mastery.

Students master skills at their own pace. Competency based systems may also create multiple pathways to graduation, make better use of technology and differentiate to meet the learning needs.

Here in Michigan we do provide a seat time waiver to districts that want to offer pupils access to online learning options and the opportunity to continue working on a high school diploma or grade progression without actually attending a school facility. Many students have taken advantage of this opportunity to advance on their own.  


1. What are ways you as a teacher can assist students to master skills at their own pace?

Ongoing Assessment is the key. Formative assessments are aligned with learning objectives and students receive immediate feedback when assessment occurs. This is used to encourage students to return to difficult concepts and skills until they achieve mastery. It is essential that assessments are student-centered, in which students are assessed on material with which they are familiar.

2. Check out the resources below for formative assessments. Kahoot, Socrative and Poll Everywhere are tools where you can even create questions on the fly and students can answer questions/polls on any device with an internet connection. 

Resource Name

 Type of Resource

     Suggestions for Use

Google Forms


Survey tool

Google Forms will produce a Google sheet with all responses. (First question should always be What is your name?) It can be a self graded quiz if used with Flubaroo add-in. Multiple response types allowed. Read more about Google Forms Flubaroo directions.



Online Quiz is game-like and somewhat competitive. Student who has correct answer first gets name displayed; plays music and uses sound effects. It has limited response types. Kahoot step by step guide.




Online Quiz

No technology required from students! Download a set of Plicker cards for multiple choice polling. Use your cell phone to capture student responses by scanning the room. Six easy steps for Getting Started with Plickers .

Poll Everywhere
polleverywhere (1)

Polling & Survey

Only one question at a time is allowed; students can use cell phones to text responses; instant (anonymous) results show up in graph form. Quickstart tutorial and a video tutorial .



Online Quiz

This is a free resource and does not require you or students to register. Once you create a quiz you will receive a URL to your Quiz which you can post or email to your students. Features include: no ads, four question types, and detailed reports which can be exported to and spreadsheet (csv). You can use a password code so only your students can take the quiz. Students will see their score and correct or incorrect answers. Registration (optional) requires a small fee if you decide to have more features. To learn more, view the testmoz demo.


socrative (1) 

Online Quiz

Use Socrative for formative assessment. You can see graphs instantly showing overall class response; can also get a spreadsheet of individual results to download. Multiple response types allowed. Socrative YouTube Tutorial Channel.


3. Choose one of the formative assessment resources above. Create a formative assessment with at least 5 questions and use it with your students. Share the asssessment with your instructor.

Click here to move on to Flexible Learning Environments


Additional Articles and Resources for Competency Based Progression

U.S. Dept of Ed Competency Based Learning

Competency-Based Education is Not New



Addressing the ISTE Standards•T:


1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity a,b,c,d;

2. Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments a,b,c,d;

3. Model Digital Age Work and Learning a,d;

4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility b

5. Engage in Professional Growth and leadership c


1. Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback;

2. Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers;

3. Summarizing & Notetaking;

4. Assigning Homework and Practice