Competency-Based Education (CBE)

State Goal

To provide 60 percent of Illinoisans with a high-quality postsecondary certificate or degree by the year 2025.


House Bill 5729 establishes a pilot program for voluntary school district participation to move Illinois from “seat-time” high school graduation requirements to competency-based high school graduation requirements. The awarding of a high school diploma should be based on what a student knows and is able to do—not the amount of time that the student sits in a class (ISBE, 2016). Pilot districts will need to establish a plan for replacing existing high school graduation requirements with competencies aligned to the standards. In addition, “districts are encouraged to develop coursework that integrates academic standards with career coursework, leading to the development of rigorous and relevant courses” (ISBE, 2016). ISBE is working to offer high school students a richer experience to prepare them for college and careers. To achieve this goal, ISBE is working with organizations such as Advance Illinois and the Northern Illinois University Education Systems Center. MWCC, with the Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL), will collaborate with ISBE and its partners to provide consultation and strategic planning for the launch of a pilot for competency-based high school graduation requirements.


MWCC will be providing support to ISBE as it implements the first phase of a new CBE high school graduation requirement pilot program. MWCC will be providing technical assistance to ISBE related to the following objectives:

  • Establishment of a CBE Pilot Program steering committee; identification of key planning goals, tasks, and timelines; and development of the process by which the steering committee will accomplish Phase I CBE pilot planning tasks.
  • Development of the CBE pilot request for proposal (RFP), proposal review criteria, and pilot site application, including necessary incentives and site selection criteria.
  • Hosting of a CBE pilot bidders conference and application supports to accompany release of the RFP by June 30, 2017.
  • Initial planning to guide implementation of Phase II of the CBE Pilot Program.
Project State(s)