Competency-Based Education (CBE) : Everything You Need to Know
With competency-based education, students can learn at their own pace with the aid of technological methods. This learning method is designed to ensure and assess students’ competency in the different assigned tasks before they are awarded their degrees. It is quite different from other regular methods. It’s delivered online or in-person over a specific period, with the final goal being obtaining a passing grade and credit hours that count toward completion of the degree.
Competency-based education is a substantial shift in school structures, culture, and pedagogy. It focuses on ensuring that all students succeed and addresses the fundamental shortcomings of the traditional model. Unlike conventional models that emphasize time-based education, the focus here is on learning-based education. In other words, a competency-based education approach ensures learning is constant where time is the variable.
In a competency-based education system, the following seven elements should be present:
· Students are empowered every day to make vital decisions about their learning experiences, starting from how they will receive and apply knowledge to how they will display their learning
· Evaluation is a positive, meaningful, and empowering learning experience for students that yields actionable, timely, and appropriate evidence
· Students get timely support to meet their individual learning needs
· Students’ progress is based on the proof of mastery, not their seat time
· Students undergo active learning by using diverse pathways and different pacing
· Plans to ensure equity for all students are inserted in the structure, culture, and pedagogy of schools and education systems.
· Thorough expectations for learning (in terms of skills, knowledge, and dispositions) are computable, explicit, transferable
While this form of learning is gradually gaining popularity, one challenge is their ineligibility for federal financial, monetary assistance since the Department of Education hasn’t yet been able to assess the credentialing structures of this learning method. Nonetheless, the process of developing CBE programs is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Hence, the unavoidable question is whether developing and/or going through this process is even worthy of consideration due to its current challenges. However, there’s no doubt that CBE has multiple benefits.
It helps achieve equity in education and offers flexibility to all students, irrespective of their literacy levels or knowledge backgrounds. With CBE, students take responsibility for their education, learn how to be better learners, and acquire skills and knowledge essential to succeed as adults. On the flip side, determining and defining key competencies for each class and making meaningful assessments are challenges that CBE needs to overcome.