Foundations of quality in competency-based programs: Competencies and assessments

March 4, 2017

Although there is a recent rise in attention surrounding competency-based education, this learning modality has a long history. Competency-based education was first introduced in the United States during the 1960s in an effort to ensure students were being prepared for postsecondary life with the skills they would need to be successful. Competency-based education was based on six critical features:

  1. explicit learning outcomes with respect to the required skills and concomitant proficiency (standards for assessment),
  2. a flexible time frame to master these skills,
  3. a variety of instructional activities to facilitate learning,
  4. criterion-referenced testing of the required outcomes,
  5. certification based on demonstrated learning outcomes, and
  6. adaptable programs to ensure optimum learner guidance (Malan, 2000, p. 23)

Competency-based Education