Montana has maintained a good perspective on its rural nature and the importance of quality education. This is demonstrated the following ways in law and rule:

Montana's adoption of PBE supports the Educational Goals and Duties outlined in Article X, Section 1 (1) of Montana's Constitution promoting the establishment of "a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person".

During the 65th Legislative Session, the Montana Legislature passed HB 351: Transformational Learning to foster "a flexible system of student centered learning" supporting each student's full academic potential by addressing their strengths, needs, and interests; focusing on proficiency; and providing students with greater choice in their educational process. 

Follow this link to learn more about available opportinities through OPI for Transformational Learning funds.

Infusing PBE into the state's educational system was made a priority during the 66th Legislative Session under HB 2 by providing funds to support and strengthen the adoption and implemention of PBE by MSU's teacher preparation program. 

Senate Bill 8 revised transformational learning program laws with clearer definitions for "proficiency" and "proficiency-based education".

Chapter 55 Accreditation Rules of Montana (ARM 10.55.602) adopted definition language for "personalized learning" (31), "proficiency-based learning" (34), and "proficient" (35) - providing guidance for schools as they adopt proficiency learning into their classrooms.

EDU 491/591

One of the ways MSU worked to accomplish the 2021 Legislature's appropriation designed to strengthen the preparation of the Montana's educators to understand and implement proficiency-based/competency-based education was by offering undergraduate and graduate level courses at no cost to course participants. Follow this link to learn more about EDU 491 and EDU 591: Personalizing Learning with Competency-Based Education. 

2021 HB 2 Subawards

Some funds from the 2021 appropriation were divided into subawards and offered to teacher preparation programs within the Montana University System. The following summaries highlight how each awardee used those funds to promote PBE within their training programs. 

MSU - Billings

The MSU-Billings PBE grant team (comprised of special education, secondary education, elementary education, & literacy faculty) reviewed teacher preparation coursesyllabi. Our goal was todetermine how each course scaffolded students acquiring specific proficiencies evaluated by the Teacher Work Sample at the conclusion of their student teaching experience. We then presented the coded syllabi to the departmental faculty, which we used to facilitate curriculum mapping emphasizing a proficiency-based approach.

MSU - Bozeman

The MSU-Bozeman subawardee team worked with the faculty in the Education Department to engage in discussions regarding proficiency-based education (PBE). We explored models of PBE in higher education, considered policies related to proficiency systems in the MT K-12 schools, and engaged in a book study for The School Wellness Wheel (which included contributor, Dr. Jason Cummins, speaking with faculty members and students about his experiences in K-12 education in Montana. 

MSU - Northern

MSU-Northern created a series of courses to aid pre-service teachers, alumni, and first-year teachers in gaining an understanding of PBL to better implement PBL their classrooms. One of the ways we accomplished this goal occurred through attending The Marzano Academy’s Transforming to a Competency-Based System training in Denver, CO which allowed our team to gain first-hand knowledge from renowned CBE experts.

Rocky Mountain College

Rocky Mountain College supported the shift to CBE by surveying our educators, adding a preparatory class to our curriculum, and creating an implementation plan to address the following:

  • What do teachers, leaders, and other constitutents know about CBE?
  • What is CBE? Can we come to a consensus on a definition?
  • Resources for students and their guardians, faculty & staff, administrators, and community leaders. 

UM - Western

University of Montana - Western engaged preservice and in-service teachers in high quality PBE design experiences and implementation. Our Spring 2023 work, (themed: Place and Displacement in the American West) supported grade 5-12 teachers designing, implementing, and reflecting on a PBE unit. Our Fall 2023 work improved our undergraduate coursework around PBE and offered unique professional development opportunities.