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Art and Science of Designing Competencies

See the paper Art and Science of Designing Competencies for a full discussion. The materials here are resources referenced in or related to the paper. If you are new to competency education, please review the working definition before this section.

1) What is a competency? 

Competencies are the knowledge, skills, and/or behaviors students must master in a specific content or performance area
-- Kim Carter, Q.E.D. Foundation

2) What makes a well-designed competency?
(See Kim Carter's presentation from VSS attached)
  • A competency describes knowledge and skills that can be applied to novel, complex situations.

  • žThe skills described in a competency will be valuable ten years from now even if the content knowledge has changed.

  • Learning objectives are accompanied by clear performance criteria that help students identify their performance level(s) and what they need to do to improve.

  • Learning objectives are accompanied by effective rubrics that help students understand themselves better as learners.

  • žThe competency and the learning objectives allow for personalization and opportunities for deeper learning.

Below are links to examples of competencies and learning objectives
  • Here is a video that focuses more on designing learning objectives referring to SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound).  It feels like an appetizer when we need a full course meal. We need to develop video's like this that really help teachers and instructional designers and even students to fully understand when competency and learning objectives are designed well.

3) What can we do to prepare for designing competencies?

A. Essentials of the Discipline (other resources on this that talks about essentials for math, science, ELA, etc)

B. Rooted in the Condition of Industry

C. Knowledge Frameworks

D. Habits of Mind/Lifelong Learning Competencies   

E. Learning Progressions

4) What process should be used to design competencies?

A. Getting Started
B. Using an Interdisciplinary Approach
  • If you are interested in interdisciplinary learning,  Kim Carter recommends Heidi Hayes Jacobs’s “Interdisciplinary Curriculum” for further exploration of this topic.

C. Professional Development


chris sturgis,
Feb 21, 2013, 4:47 AM
chris sturgis,
May 9, 2013, 9:50 AM
chris sturgis,
Aug 20, 2012, 12:47 PM