Quality Standards for Competency-Based Educational Programs

Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), Oct 24, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

You have until December 1 to provide comments to the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) on this draft set of guidelines for quality in competency-based education. The ideas is that "Competency-based education uses an intentional and transparent approach to curricular design that provides a learner with a clear pathway to completion based on an academic model that builds a unified body of knowledge leveraging frameworks, disciplines, standards, workforce needs, and national norms... Each competency is explicitly stated and unambiguously provides descriptions of what a learner must master before program completion... The assessment strategy provides multiple modalities of assessment intentionally aligned to learning outcomes and uses a range of assessment types to measure learning and the transfer of learning into novel contexts."

The eight elements, with expanded principles and related standards, include (quoted from the press release):

  • Coherent, competency-driven program and curriculum design
  • Clear, measurable, meaningful and complete competencies
  • Credential-level assessment strategy with robust implementation
  • Intentionally designed and engaged student experience
  • Collaborative engagement with external partners
  • Transparency of student learning
  • Evidence-driven continuous improvement processes
  • Demonstrated institutional commitment to capacity for CBE innovation

I couldn't find the actual quality standards anywhere on the C-BEN website (you have to sign up for the survey to view them), but can access this copy (11 page PDF) at Inside Higher Ed.

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