Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion

Fall 2019

Thesis Director

Dr. Sham'ah Md-Yunus

Thesis Committee Member

Dr. Dawn VanGunten

Thesis Committee Member

Dr. Terri Fredrick




This study examines the impact of Personalized Competency-Based Education (PCBE) on student engagement across varying ethnicities and grade levels. Personalized Competency-Based Education is built upon the premise that student learning should be based upon the following characteristics: learning is student-owned, learning accommodates flexible pacing, learning shows demonstration of proficiency, students track their own progress, and students determine their own learning pathways and goals. Since current research is limited on the impact of PCBE, especially at the secondary level of education, further study is needed in order to determine how PCBE implementation will effect student engagement. It was hypothesized that PCBE would have a significant impact on student engagement across grade levels 9-12 and all ethnicities. A survey method was used to collect data from 500 students in an urban high school setting in order to determine if there was a correlation between PCBE implementation and student demographics. The results of the study reveal that PCBE has a significant positive correlation on student engagement across all grade levels (9-12) and most ethnicities.

Keywords: personalized learning, competency-based education, student engagement