The successful implementation of a proficiency-based education system typically requires existing policies to be revised and new policies to be created. At the district and school levels, new organizational and instructional policies can foster common understanding across multiple audiences and stakeholders, secure official support for new practices, promote the sustainability of decisions in the midst of personnel changes and give purposeful direction to school leaders and educators.

Local policy should describe expectations for both educators and learning goals, while also providing the support and resources required for successful implementation. Well-designed policies help educators, staff members, students and parents clearly understand new requirements, while also building enough flexibility to enable teachers to personalize learning for students. When developing new district and school policies, we strongly encourage a minimalist approach that targets only the most essential components of an effective educational system.

Finally, school leaders, local officials and educators should note that new and revised policies address multiple areas, including school board policy, district rules and regulations, programs of study and even school schedules.