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Resource Guide to Competency-Based Education: Competencies

A list of resources provided by Truxal Library for researching competency-based education.

The Competencies



In developing CBE programs, colleges and universities are using the tools below to derive or refine the competencies on which learning and assessment are based.



Published by the Lumina Foundation in 2011, the DQP was tested and used by more than 400 colleges and universities, 4 regional accrediting associations and several constituency organizations before its formal release in 2014. It describes what students should know and be able to do in 5 learning categories at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree level regardless of the field of study.

The 5 learning categories are: Specialized Knowledge ; Broad and Integrative Knowledge ; Intellectual Skills ; Applied and Collaborative Learning ; Civic and Global Learning.

Specialized Knowledge, for example, addresses what students in any field of study should demonstrate in that specialization. At the Associate level under Specialized Knowlede DQP calls for the student to :

  • Describe the scope of the field of study and at least one related field, their core theories and practices using field-related terminology
  • Apply tools, technologies and methods common to the field of study to selected questions or problems
  • Generate substantially error-free products, reconstructions, data, juried exhibits or performances appropriate to the field of study.

Tuning USA, an allied initiative, supports faculty, institutions, systems and consortia to describe the concepts, knowledge areas and accomplishments particular to each specialization.

Explore the Degree Qualifications Profile website, where you can find the full DQP report which includes a grid with the 5 categories of learning and the proficiencies at each degree level.

Industry models


Industry models are developed by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration in collaboration with business leaders, educators and others. The models contribute to the development of curriculum, certifications and assessments of skill sets and competencies necessary in educating a globally competitive workforce.

Models have been developed for industries including automation, bioscience, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, mechatronics and retail.

The Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Competency Model was updated in 2014. The structure is typical of the structure used for each model.

Using mouseovers, the web-based models define each competency. For example, the Workplace Competency for Checking Examining and Recording is defined as "Entering, transcribing, recording, storing or maintaining information in written or electronic format." The top level Occupation Specific Requirements and the Management Competencies vary by position within the industry.

Explore the Competency Model Clearninghouse website for complete information.



Introduced in 2005 through the Association of American Colleges and Universities, LEAP offers a set of Essential Learning Outcomes along with rubrics for assessment. Through these outcomes, students prepare for 21rst century challenges by gaining:

  • Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World
  • Intellectual and Practical Skills
  • Personal and Social Responsibility
  • Integrative and Applied Learning

The Essential Learning Outcomes are supported by Principles of Excellence developed by a national leadership council of educators and policymakers in 2007. Together they provide a framework to guide students' progress and to inform change in universities and colleges with challenging standards and flexible guidance.

The Principles of Excellence:

  • Aim High - and Make Excellence Inclusive
  • Give Students a Compass
  • Teach the Arts of Inquiry and Innovation
  • Engage the Big Questions
  • Connect Knowledge with Actions and Choices
  • Foster Civic, Intercultural and Ethical Learning
  • Assess Students' Ability to Apply Learning to Complex Problems

Explore the LEAP website where you can find additional information on the Essential Learning Outcomes and the Principles of Excellence.

Library photo courtesy of Barry Halkin Photography