Competency-Based Education | News

Pearson Launches Competency-Based Education Framework and Readiness Assessment

As competency-based degree programs gain momentum among colleges and universities led by organizations such as the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning and the Next Generation Learning Challenges, more institutions may be wondering how far off they are from being able to implement this approach to education. Competency-based education (CBE) allows students to advance based on their ability to prove mastery of a skill or knowledge area in order to improve their workforce prospects.

Education technology company Pearson has developed an assessment tool that allows schools to gauge their institutions' readiness to adopt CBE.

The tool consists of a questionnaire that asks questions in seven areas:

  • The initial market analysis, which determines what degrees are in demand, where future growth will take place and what local employers are looking for;
  • Institutional readiness assesses how CBE fits with the school's mission, what kind of faculty and administration support the initiative has, and the existing capabilities and financial resources available to support a new program;
  • The phase for developing the model scrutinizes how courses would be designed, delivered and assessed; what the protocols are for admission and how academic policies are set; what tuition will be set at; and availability of technology (such as a learning management system and analytics engine);
  • Marketing and recruiting calculate what sets the programs apart and how to recruit students who are likely to succeed;
  • Admissions and registration set policies regarding how prior learning will be credited and structures processes related to registration, degree planning and other components;
  • Enrolled student engagement stays on top of student acceptance for the program and jumps in to intervene with at-risk students with advising and related services; and
  • Data and improvement measures data related to evaluation of program elements as well as the use of data to support students and revise curriculum.

A simple set of calculations based on responses to each question area helps college officials understand how close they are to having the capacity to support a CBE initiative. Where there are gaps, Pearson's services division is ready to step in and provide consulting to help institutions build programs that meet the maxims of CBE.

"By making our CBE framework details widely available, we hope to empower institutions to incorporate CBE into their teaching and learning models, as it's materializing to be a viable and successful option for more students," said Brian Epp, Pearson's strategic consultant for Higher Education Services.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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