book coverReinventing Crediting for Competency-Based Education: The Mastery Transcript Consortium Model and Beyond




“Impressive book on reinventing crediting for CBE. This is a must read ”  Rose Colby, Author of Competency-Based Education.

“The book is great: very helpful work.”   Mike Gwaltney, Upper School Head, Rocky Hill School (RI)

“informative, easy to read, and it will be a great resource to recommend to schools.”  Trish Russel, Chief Education Officer, Mastery Transcript Consortium.

Peter Gow, Executive Director of the Independent Curriculum Group (now part of One Schoolhouse):

 “Books devoted to a particular aspect the brave new world of education are often just breathless, uncritical paeans to their subject. In Reinventing Crediting for Competency-Based Education Jonathan Martin, with his deep experience as a practitioner and a researcher, lays out the case for Competency-Based Crediting even as he offers a comprehensive and balanced exposition of the things that real educators in real schools will need to consider, to learn, and to do in order to make new kinds of transcripts actually serve real students in the real world.”

Julie M. Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for the Future of Learning and author of The Human Side of Changing Education

“Both thoughtful and practical, this is the only book I know that addresses the need to measure what we value when assessing student schoolwork. Capturing important exemplars and some of the leading work already underway, this study offers a roadmap for your own journey into this work. Jonathan E. Martin is an expert not only in the theory and promise of competency-based assessment but also what it takes to implement it in a meaningful and sustainable way.”

Table of Contents 

  • Forward by Kevin Mattingly
  • Acknowledgements 
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Competency-Based Crediting Models from Higher Ed and Abroad
  • Chapter 3: The Mastery Transcript Consortium
  • Chapter 4: Elements of the New Model
    • Defining and illustrating competencies and how they are develope
    • Establishing learning  opportunities by which students can earn competencies 
    • Collecting and curating student work in digital portfolios 
    • Assessing competencies, particularly with rubrics
    • Using new transcript types to report earned competencies
  • Chapter 5:  Downstream Effects on Schools and Systems, Curriculum, and Instruction
  • Chapter 6: Learning from Experience:  Case Studies of Competency Based Learning Transformation
  • Chapter 7: Planning the Shift: A Game Plan
  • Chapter 8: Perspectives from Higher Education
  • Chapter 9: Conclusion

From the forward by Kevin Mattingly:

Few people I know in the educational world are as well equipped as the author of this book to struggle with this enormously complex set of issues just described. Jonathan Martin’s experiences in the realm of learning are extensive and varied, including being a classroom teacher,  leader of multiple schools, think tank researcher, published writer, prolific blogger, and consultant to numerous schools and national educational organizations — an academic polymath if there ever was one. He possesses an extraordinary ability to distill and synthesize information from disparate sources and cohere them into unique and compelling insights, and this does him good stead in weaving his way through this tangled educational thicket. My own introduction and initial understanding of these issues began in the late 1980’s when introduced to the writings of Grant Wiggins and then later working with him in various capacities for many years. About the same time I began to teach in the professional development programs of the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College Columbia University, and have been teaching cognitive science in their graduate leadership programs for the past 20 years, having the good fortune to interact with hundreds of extraordinary educators during that time. So I do not say lightly, nor without cause, that Jonathan is among the best of them. In Lee Shulman terms, he embodies the “wisdom of practice.”

This book is quintessentially about moving forward in productive and positive ways in the face of one of education’s most daunting wicked problems. Central to the author’s argument is the concept of the competency-based credit (CBC), which is carefully differentiated from competency-based learning (CBL) and competency-based education (CBE), both powerful and growing reform movements in teaching and learning

The author has done an excellent job at each major juncture of the process in providing relevant essential questions, surfacing hidden assumptions, anticipating obstacles, and describing real-world examples to guide the way. It’s still a wicked problem but as the change leadership gurus suggest, a first move in effecting change in complex systems is to identify and begin to consider all the issues at play. This book certainly goes a long way in accomplishing that.