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Survey on Competency-Based Education

January 6, 2016

Public Agenda, a nonprofit organization, recently surveyed faculty, staff and administrators at colleges that offer competency-based credentials. The group found wide agreement on what makes a strong competency-based program. Key elements include clear program competencies, meaningful assessments and learner-centered programs that prepare graduates to enter the workforce.

For example, the survey found that 94 percent of respondents said assessments must give "substantive, meaningful feedback." Respondents also said competency-based programs should be accessible to students from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Turning those goals into reality isn't easy, however. The survey found, for example, that only 69 percent of respondents had fully adopted meaningful assessments.

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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