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Competenc e based Dutch reform of Higher Education. A short overview of model, implementation and results International Workshop Digital Library Education March 2005 Ton de Bruyn. Context.

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Competenc e based dutch reform of higher education

Competence based Dutch reform of Higher Education

A short overview of model,

implementation and results

International Workshop

Digital Library Education

March 2005

Ton de Bruyn


  • Dutch professional universities (strange degrees...see hand-out, non-selective entry for non-specific O-level equivalent)

  • ICT-departments: within Saxion Universities Library Sciences (or: Information Services and Management) are part of the ICT-department)

  • Deans’ conferences of ICT (HBO-I) and ISM however are (still? partly) separate entities

  • At Deventer Business Information Technology and Information Services and Management have jointly implemented a model of competence learning

  • (We are not far away from the cutting edge on implementing competence learning)

Basic models not necessarily contradictory
Basic models, (not necessarily contradictory)

  • Analytical model of competences (a competence is to some extent reduced to specific aspects of behaviour and defined as a competence[!]) = model used by HBO-I and Saxion at Deventer

    • Easier to have flexible learning routes

    • More difficult to build (integral) assessments

    • Credits are awarded to (parts of) a competence

    • etc

  • Synthetic model of competences (generic behaviour and task specific behaviour is considered an integral part of a competence); seems (partly) to be the concept of Dublin descriptors (nrs 2-5)?

    • More difficult to have flexible learning routes

    • Easier to build real life assessments

    • Credits are a bit of a problem

    • etc

Analytical model
Analytical model

  • Generic competence model: HBO-raad (Federation of Dutch Professional Universities)

    • 10 generic competence descriptions: example

  • Information Services and Management: Focus op Kennis (Focus on Knowledge), new set

  • First model HBO-I: 2000

    • based on HBO-raad with 12 task specific competence descriptions added (48 sub-competences!! each one being given 5 levels!!!!)

    • set of job descriptions

  • (New model HBO-I: 2004 not yet implemented at Saxion

    • reduced set of 5 specific competence building block descriptions and the 10 HBO-raad generic competence descriptions (now also building blocks)

    • NEW!: illustrations of professionals contexts in relation to specific competence building block descriptions!)

Curriculum design 1
Curriculum design 1

  • BIT: concentric (Spaghetti?)

    • Very detailed (bureaucratic) planning (students) and tracking (staff)

  • ISM: monolythic (Asparagus?)

    • Easier on planning and tracking

    • Difficult (because short) development model for students

Curriculum design 2
Curriculum design 2

  • Semesters

  • Thematic approach

  • Project for each theme/semester

  • Project breaks down into tasks

  • Tasks relates to (ideally) more than one competence

    • This is the way we (hope to) offer students the possibility to develop integrated competences

  • Support classes (lectures, workshops, laboratories)

  • Support classes can either be synchronous (mostly BIT or a-synchronous (ISM)

  • Competence matrix as design instrument

Student assessment
Student assessment

  • No written tests!

  • Based on individual development plan

  • Individual(ized) assessment

    • (no group evaluation)!

  • Two phased (different assessors!):

    • 1st phase focus on development

    • 2nd phase focus on (evaluative) assessment

  • Based on task performance during project:

    • Through observation (360 degree feedback)

    • Through individual(ized) assessment interviews based on professional artefacts (results of tasks)

  • General interviews on professional development (with specially assigned staff)

The good
The good

  • Seems a pretty good and fast selective instrument (see Dutch non-selective entry: we have to get rid of chaff)

  • Much better staff-student interaction

  • The new HBO-I competences (reduced to 5) seem to offer opportunities to reduce the complexity of our model, especially to students

  • In addition: we are likely to scrap the 5 levels as well

  • To me it seems a pretty good way of educating professionals although...

The bad
The bad

  • Very labour intensive!

  • Not all staff is yet comfortable with this type of education and student assessment

  • Level of knowledge can be difficult to assess; yet, why should we want to?

    • (nice discussion topic)

  • Tracking of the development and assessment process is (or: has become) bureaucratic

The ugly
The ugly?

  • Written test will be re-introduced as part of formative assessment (students can test and discuss their perfomance with assessor); so what? I like knowledge anyway but...

  • Integral competence/assessment approach is a hurdle that we somehow got stuck in

  • Is behavioural/product assessment a stronger proposition than classical knowledge/skills/(attitude) assessment? Or are we just going through the motion?

    • To my mind observation of behaviour is multi-dimensional (competence!) but derived whereas knowledge assessment through written is mono-dimensional but fairly direct

Discussion is over
Discussion is over!

Stop talking, Ton!!

Dublin bachelor back
Dublin bachelor, back

  • have demonstrated knowledge and understanding in a field of study that builds upon and supersedes their general secondary education, and is typically at a level that, whilst supported by advanced textbooks, includes some aspects that will be informed by knowledge of the forefront of their field of study;

  • can apply their knowledge and understanding in a manner that indicates a professional approach to their work or vocation, and have competences typically demonstrated through devising and sustaining arguments and solving problems within their field of study;

  • have the ability to gather and interpret relevant data (usually within their field of study) to inform judgements that include reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues;

  • can communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;

  • have developed those learning skills that are necessary for them to continue to undertake further study with a high degree of autonomy.

Dublin master
Dublin master

  • have demonstrated knowledge and understanding that is founded upon and extends and/or enhances that typically associated with Bachelor’s level, and that provides a basis or opportunity for originality in developing and/or applying ideas, often within a research context;

  • can apply their knowledge and understanding, and problem solving abilities in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their field of study;

  • have the ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity, and formulate judgements with incomplete or limited information, but that include reflecting on social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgements;

  • can communicate their conclusions, and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously;

  • have the learning skills to allow them to continue to study in a manner that may be largely self-directed or autonomous.

Generic ict competence building blocks old new
Generic ICT competencebuilding blocks (old/new)

  • A1 Broadly-based professionalism

  • A2 Multidisciplinary integration

  • A3 Scientific and non-scientific application

  • A4 Transfer and broad usability

  • A5 Creativity and complexity of action

  • A6 Problem-oriented approach

  • A7 Methodical and reflective reasoning and action

  • A8 Social and communicative skills

  • A9 Basic qualification for management positions

  • A10 Sense of social responsibility


Task specific competence building blocks for ict new
Task specific competencebuilding blocks for ICT (new)

  • B1 Analysis

  • B2 Advice

  • B3 Design

  • B4 Implementation

  • B5 Maintenance


Task specific competence building blocks for ism new
Task specific competencebuilding blocks for ISM (new)

  • Information resources

  • Retrieval

  • Classification systems

  • Information collation

  • Management information

  • Information and knowledge exchange

  • Information and business processes

  • Systems development

  • Information and knowledge policy


Competence matrix sample back




















P3, P2

















Competence matrix, sample, back