Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning: Competency-Based Teacher Preparation and Development

The paper contains recommendations that will move the field toward a competency-based system and a call to action regarding the importance of better aligning teacher preparation and development with student Deeper Learning goals.

Karen Cator
Carri Schneider
Tom Vander Ark
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Digital Promise
Getting Smart
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

This paper outlines the attributes of next-generation teacher preparation and makes recommendations to support the development of teacher preparation and development systems that will equip teachers to thrive in learning environments that develop Deeper Learning competencies. The paper begins with an introduction that situates the changing roles of teachers inside the broader shifts to personalized, blended, Deeper Learning for students. After summarizing the current state of teacher preparation, professional development and accreditation, the authors describe a new approach to high-quality teacher preparation and ongoing professional learning opportunities that would offer:

  • some element of teacher control over time, place, path and/or pace;
  • balance between teacher-defined goals, goals as defined by administration through teacher evaluation efforts, and school and district educational goals;
  • job-embedded and meaningful integration into classroom practice; and
  • competency-based progression.

Drawing on examples from outside of the field of education as well as innovators in higher education and K-12, the next section builds the case for competency-based teacher education. This section defines the elements of a competency-based system and describes micro-credentialing in the context of teacher development. The authors conclude with recommendations that will move the field toward a competency based system and a call to action regarding the importance of better aligning teacher preparation and development with student Deeper Learning goals.

An executive summary is also available, as well as a complementary infographic

What the experts say

An outstanding resource for anyone interested in the effectiveness of competency-based professional development, microcredentialing and the best practices of Hybrid Professional Development. This is a MUST read for ANYONE interested in improving their Professional Development delivery system! This is an outstanding paper on the benefits of competency-based professional development, coupled with effective new tools, such as micro-credentialing and the effectiveness that hybrid professional development provides for adult educators. 

This has great relevance for adult basic skills professional development. There is great potential for competency-based teacher education and micro-credentials in adult basic education. The personalized learning advocated for teacher education in K-12 and higher education also applies very well to adult education. 

Resource Notice

This site includes links to information created by other public and private organizations. These links are provided for the user’s convenience. The U.S. Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this non-ED information. The inclusion of these links is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse views expressed, or products or services offered, on these non-ED sites.

Please note that privacy policies on non-ED sites may differ from ED’s privacy policy. When you visit, no personal information is collected unless you choose to provide that information to us. We do not give, share, sell, or transfer any personal information to a third party. We recommend that you read the privacy policy of non-ED websites that you visit. We invite you to read our privacy policy.