Actually, from where I sit, it isn't "quietly" headed for the mainstream, but is rather a great lumbering beast thrashing through the forest toward the mainstream. Competencies are this magic link between employment prospects and educational services and resources, and pave the way for the creation of a learning marketplace. This allows the ostensive creation of a privatized education system, at worst, but on a more positive note could allow people to create their own custom learning programs, private or public, to support their eventual ambition in life. In this way, competency-based education is a lot like educational technology. There are risks, but in the end its value really depends on what you're prepared to do with it. This Saylor blog post links to an Anya Kamanetz article for NPR on competency-based addressing a report from the American Enterprise Institute called The Landscape of Competency-Based Education.
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