The purpose of this preliminary study was to assess the effectiveness of the competency-based education systems in order to aid teachers, administrators, and policy/law makers in their evaluation of competency-based education systems. It was a quasi-experimental nonequivalent group design study that used quantitative data to compare competency-based schools to seat time based schools. This study focused on ten New Hampshire public schools that have implemented competency-based systems and compared them to ten similar California schools that utilize the standard seat time based education systems. The 20 schools were grouped into ten groups containing one New Hampshire school and one California school. The schools were paired based upon similar demographics and total student numbers. The ACT test was chosen as the measurement tool to compare the two education systems. The average ACT scores for each school were acquired and analyzed. The results showed that, on average, the students in the competency-based schools performed equally as well as the students in the seat time based schools. The implication of these results was that competency-based systems can be considered as rigorous as traditional seat time based systems. Recommendations for future research included an expanded sample of schools, a longer duration of data collection, and additional data collection, especially by using a mixed-method approach in order to (a) verify the conclusions of this study and (b) generate additional insights that will help decision makers make better informed choices about whether or not to move to competency-based education systems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Competency-based education -- Evaluation; Public schools -- New Hampshire -- Evaluation; ACT Assessment

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Schmieder-Ramirez, June;