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55% of undergrads and 38% of grad students report they struggle to remain interested in their courses. They believe that material more directly connected to real-life issues could help solve the problem.

There is a mismatch between the competencies employers and graduates say they need on the job, and what they are being taught in school.


The resources below are for all students as well as parents, guardians, or others involved in a student’s educational choices.

Competency-Based Education for Students

Competencies reflect elements that an individual must demonstrate to be effective in a job, task, or function. Competencies are written as task-oriented action phrases that integrate three key dimensions: knowledge, skills, and dispositions. While knowledge and skills are somewhat self-explanatory, dispositions reflect the inclination and “drive” to carry out a task.

Competency-based learning offers an opportunity to level the playing field for underrepresented students in computing, because many lack the means or other entry requirements to enter degree programs, and non-degree competency credentials are persuasive to employers.

Competencies provide the tools to define “what” students are capable of after an educational experience, without getting into the details of “how” that experience is conducted.

A competency is expertise individuals can demonstrate in professional, educational, social, or other life contexts. Competenceis include content knowledge, skills, and dispositions.

Competency Based Education is centered around individualized student learning. Key traits of competency-based approaches include:

  • Students advance upon demonstrated mastery. Explicit, measurable, and transferable competencies empower students to choose their own learning path.
  • Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.
  • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on individual needs.
  • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge along with the development of important skills and dispositions.
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