Usage of blended learning and/or competency-based instruction in K-12 schools

Publication Year: 
Category of Information: 
Sample size: 
2,868 principals
Sample description: 

"In this report we will examine the trends from our analysis of the Speak Up data collected in fall 2015. More than 505,000 K-12 students, parents, educators, and community members participated in Speak Up 2015." (p. 2). And there are 2,868 principals participated in Speak Up 2015.



"According to the 2015 Speak Up findings from 2,868 principals nationwide, approximately 46 percent of K-12 schools have already implemented some variation of blended learning and/or competency-based instruction for their students. An additional 15 percent are considering these classroom models as strategic initiatives for the new school year."

"Two-thirds of school principals with successful blended and competency-based initiatives say that the effective use of technology is extremely important to their students’ success."

"These personalized learning pioneers are also in the forefront with the use of student data to personalize instruction (97 percent), online assessments (93 percent), digital content within instruction (92 percent)digital professional development for teachers (70 percent) and game-based learning (60 percent)."

(p. 2)


iNACOL defines competency-based learning as personalized learning that incorporates these five elements:
• Students advance upon demonstrated mastery.
• Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students.
• Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.
• Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
• Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.


Increasingly, educators as well as policymakers, parents and community members are acquiring a new understanding of what personalized learning means, and acquiring a new common language around key concepts central to personalized learning. The key concepts include:
• Centering the learning experience around students’ needs and providing differentiated support pathways that include a level of student choice about learning modalities as well as time and pace.
• Empowering teachers to better understand student strengths and weaknesses through the use of learning progressions, formative assessments and real-time data fueled by
digital tools.
• Moving away from the definition of school as a fixed, physical locale where learning only happens from 8am-3pm to a new paradigm that acknowledges the blending of informal and formal environments and the value of student selfdirected learning.
• Redefining education outcomes as the attainment of mastery or competence where the acquisition of knowledge and skills is evaluated through demonstrated authentic evidence such as through project-based learning goals, not just seat time or even once a year test scores.