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Building 21 is a co-designer of the Learning What Matters (LWM) Competency Framework, originally developed in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia.

Jump to Competencies and Continua

What is a competency?

At Building 21, we define competencies as the essential skill-sets of post-secondary readiness. A competency always connects to a meaningful outcome that empowers learners.

How is a competency structured?

Per the illustration below, a competency is structured as a grouping of related skills that cumulatively serve as a measure of a learner’s level of mastery. Performance level descriptors along a continuum help describe how each skill becomes more sophisticated as it develops toward readiness. Based on our most recent analysis, Level 10 represents “college ready” work and “Level 12” on our continuum represents “college-level” work.

What role do competencies play in the Building 21 model?

Competencies and competency progressions (“continua”) are the backbone of the Building 21 model. All units of study (studios) and performance tasks are designed around one or more target competencies. Learning targets, instructional planning, student feedback, and evaluation of student work are all based on the performance level descriptors of the continua. Crediting requirements are based upon completion of a competency portfolio of evidence that maps to a specific credit. To put it simply, completion of a portfolio equals a mastery credit. To learn more about how crediting occurs, click here.

Can I adopt these competencies and progressions for my own school or district?

Yes. The Learning What Matters (LWM) framework is open for sharing under the following Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). This means you may use all framework assets under the condition that the work is attributed and not used for commercial purposes. If you remix or adapt the work to fit your needs, you must share your work with the same license. For questions about access, adoption, partnership, or attribution, please contact us at info@b-21.org.