Quality Principles and Standards Released for Competency-Based Education Programs

October 20th, 2016

Quality Principles and Standards Released for Competency-Based Education Programs

October 20, 2016—The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) today released eight draft Quality Principles and Standards for Competency-Based Educational Programs that are designed to address, head on, the quality and intentionality of competency-based education (CBE) programs and how well these programs meet the needs of students and institutions.  

The draft quality standards for CBE programs were outlined by a panel of institutional experts at the CBExchange convening, which drew over 400 CBE visionaries and practitioners.

“Our goal is to provide standards to the field that institutions can draw on to inform the design or scaling of high-quality programs,” said Charla Long, executive director of C-BEN. “These quality elements can provide guideposts and assurances to policymakers and accreditors tasked with regulating this vibrant, and still emerging, field of practice.”

The eight elements, with expanded principles and related standards, include:

  • Coherent, competency-driven program and curriculum design
  • Clear, measurable, meaningful and complete competencies
  • Credential-level assessment strategy with robust implementation
  • Intentionally designed and engaged student experience
  • Collaborative engagement with external partners
  • Transparency of student learning
  • Evidence-driven continuous improvement processes
  • Demonstrated institutional commitment to capacity for CBE innovation 

“The draft principles and standards are universal enough to apply to all CBE programs, regardless of model variations,” stated Laurie Dodge, C-BEN board chair and vice chancellor of institutional assessment and planning and vice provost at Brandman University. “In the future, we envision these universal principles and standards will be augmented by additional stackable principles and standards based on model-specific, programmatic features.”

The draft is available for comment by the broader C-BEN community and the wider field. An online portal has been created to collect input on the draft and this feedback will inform the final version. Rubrics for each of the standards are currently in development and will be collaboratively developed by C-BEN members, institutional representatives and assessment experts after the standards themselves have been finalized through input from the field.

The finalized standards and associated rubrics will be released in early 2017; the evolution of the field and evidence base will require that these standards be regularly reviewed and updated.

The quality standards can be accessed at: and information on CBExchange 2016 is available at:

Tags: quality, cbe, standards

New Tool Provides Institutions with Guide to Plan and Implement Competency-­‐Based Education Programs

June 23rd, 2016

The Competency‐Based Education Network (C-BEN) today released an interactive CBE Design Planner tool that allows institutions to plan for designing, developing and scaling high-quality competency-based education (CBE) programs capable of serving students of all backgrounds. The tool is the latest resource developed by C-BEN, which serves as a network of institutions as they create and offer degree programs with well-defined learning outcomes and rigorous assessment.

Access the CBE Design Planner here.

Download Press Release here.

C-BEN Year 2 Report

April 21st, 2016

This report shares the highlights from C-BEN’s second year.

Click here to download the full report.

New Checklist Will Help Ensure Competency-Based Programs Comply with Federal Financial Aid Policies

April 14th, 2016

The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) has released an urgently needed planning resource to help financial aid officers ensure that competency-based education programs are designed and offered in ways that allow students to pay tuition, fees, and living expenses using federal grants and loans. C-BEN released the financial aid checklist and a related academic calendar tool in advance of its meeting April 20-22 in Santa Fe, N.M.

Click here to view the full press release.

Click here to view the financial aid checklist.

Click here to view the academic calendar tool.

Competency-Based Education Ecosystem Framework

January 13th, 2016

A new report  provides the most detailed and accurate description to date of what competency-based education (CBE) looks like from the perspectives of learners, higher education professionals, policymakers and others involved in this rapidly expanding movement. The report gives everyone involved in CBE programs a baseline understanding and common language to guide the development of high-quality programs. The Competency-Based Education Ecosystem Framework is part of a multipronged effort led by Public Agenda, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation. This effort responds to calls from higher education for more resources to so support planning and decision-making around competency-based degrees.

Click here for the press release.

Click here to view the full report.