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Competency Based Education is a system in which:

  • Student learning is measured based on a core set of standards or "competencies;"

  • Expectations for learning are explicit, rigorous, and broken down into age-appropriate "learning targets;"

  • Time is flexible because not all students master new learning at the same time and in the same way;

  • Instruction is tailored to meet individual students' needs, based on their strengths, weaknesses, and goals for improvements;

  • Grades reflect an individual student's progression on a scale of learning and are based on multiple and varied types of assessments; Grades are not based on an average of stand alone tests and quizzes;

  • Students prepare for success in life after high school by . . .

    • individualizing their high school coursework based on college and career pathway;

    • demonstrating work and life-ready skills outlined in our Graduate Profile;

    • gaining increased opportunities to earn college credit or work credentials and certificates

Graduate Profile

"We have essentially been trying to fix the students so that they fit in our conventional architecture of grade-level-determined curricula. But the system can no longer be fixed. We should ask ourselves if the time has finally come for us to transform or fundamentally rebuild the system that supports student learning."

Rose Colby  

   Competency Based Education: A New Architecture for K-12 Schooling (2018)

More information on Competency Based Education (CBE) in CUSD#1:


Empower is the district's Learning Management System. Empower is a platform created as a tool to manage competency based instructional resources, evidence of student learning, and scores on assessments. Empower makes what's happening at school transparent for parents and students. Students use Empower to access class content, submit assignments, take assessments, and view progress. Parents can see everything their child can see: course content, assignments, grades, and whether their child is "on pace."

More information about Empower can be found here: Empower Learning Platform in 6 Easy Steps

Please contact the Technology Department if you need your Empower login/password.

Email or Phone: 639-1035

Charleston School District's Implementation Timeline with Progress Updates(last updated January 2022) is linked here:

Questions? Need more information?

Contact Mrs. Kristen Holly, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services