The Promise of Competency-Based Education (CBE) EWA National Conference Nashville, TN May 20, 2014 Dr. Charla Long Dean, College of Professional Studies
“Competency-based approaches to education have the potential for assuring the quality and extent of learning, shortening the time to degree/certificate completion, developing stackable credentials that ease student transitions between school and work, and reducing the overall cost of education.” • ~Dear Colleague Letter, DOE, March 2013
What are Competencies? Every workplace role is, at the simplest level, a collection of competencies. • Every role has a unique competency combination. • Every role requires different levels of competence. Focus is on what’s needed to be successful in that role.
CBE Definition • Academic program INTENTIONALLY DESIGNED to ensure students can DEMONSTRATE their LEARNING of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes NEEDEDby person IN THAT MAJOR field of study by utilizing AUTHENTIC ASSSESSMENTS that are VALIDATED FOR QUALITY.
How are Competencies Used in Higher Ed? • Every academic major or program has unique competency combination. • Some competencies apply to everyone – like general education requirements. • Other competencies focus is on the knowledge, skill, ability, and attitude person with that major/degree should possess. • CBE shifts thinking from course completion to competence achievement. • When a student demonstrates competence, they get “credit” for it. • Doesn’t matter how or when the competence is developed.
Lipscomb Story Story Began in 2007 Before the National Movement Had Started
Requirement: Connect to the workplace. • Requirement: Include tested, proven, reliable and valid performance indicators identified by employers. • Requirement: Use a valid competency model. • Licensed the Organization Systems International’s Polaris Model • A competency model used by over 150 employers, including many Fortune 100 companies
Polaris Competency Model • 41 Key Competencies • Includes expandable competencies like Functional/Technical Expertise, Organization Knowledge, Industry Knowledge, Technology Savvy • 7 Categories • Communication • Conceptual • Contextual • Interpersonal • Leadership • Management • Personal
Competency Examples Leadership Change Mastery Influence Management Organizing & Planning Personal Composure Initiative Mission Focus Results Orientation Communications Active Listening Communicativeness Presentation Skills Conceptual Problem Solving & Decision Making Interpersonal Assertiveness Conflict Management Relationship Building Team Player
Requirements included: • Objective and consistent • Relevant and job related • Precise and in-depth • Valid and highly reliable • Fair and provide opportunities to demonstrate skills • Supportive of diversity • Assessment choices included tests, projects, and behavioral-based measures. • Connection to what person can demonstrate led us to choose behavioral or project-based assessments as primary tools.
Active Listening Criterion In-Basket Interview
Full deck of 41 competencies • Allows for build out based on: • Technical expertise • Functional knowledge • Organizational knowledge • Industry knowledge Lipscomb creates custom build outs for corporate clients.
Are all competencies clearly articulated? • Are you leaving out any “soft skill” competencies and focusing only on technical expertise? • Are there commonalities between the different competency standards?
Are you direct assessment or credit-based? • Do you have “degrees” of competence for a position? • Is it a check mark or a level? • How do you define the competencies for supervisors, trainers, or assessors of others? • Are they at a higher level of the same set of competencies or are additional competencies needed? • Do you allow for continuing education or greater competency development?
Could you standardize some of the credentials so it could count in multiple arenas? • Could badges help individuals build their credentials over time or encourage more diversity? • Could badges be positioned as an outward sign of credentials?
Only as good as your assessment process • Must be able to clearly and consistently evaluate across all credential methods • Can’t have double standard for portfolio and classroom • What are your requirements? • Objective and consistent; Relevant and job related; Precise and in-depth; Valid and highly reliable; Fair and has opportunity to demonstrates skills; Supportive of diversity
Do you allow for customization based on market needs? • Do you utilize platform to undergird and unite all programs, even when customized?