Report: Best Practices in Competency-Based Education: Lessons From Three Colleges


Under a Round 2 TAACCCT grant, Sinclair Community College is leading a consortium with Austin Community College and Broward College to implement flexibly paced, competency-based education (CBE) programs in information technology. There is no single, authoritative definition of “competency-based education.” However, a key feature is that students are to master clearly defined and measurable learning outcomes (the required “competencies”), but the time a student takes to demonstrate each competency may vary. This contrasts with traditional models, in which different students may experience different learning outcomes, but they all spend a fixed amount of time in each course. Western Governors University (WGU) is providing consulting and technical assistance to help the consortium colleges adapt their programs to time-variant, competency-based models. Mathematica serves as external evaluator of the consortium’s TAACCCT grant. The practices highlighted in this brief were identified through document review, site visits, and interviews with stakeholders at the participating institutions.

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