Competency-Based Education

We can help design and launch
your CBE programs

Introduce Authentic And
Meaningful Assessment

Digital Assess can help your institution quickly introduce authentic and meaningful assessment into your Competency Based Education(CBE). We can work with any competency-based program to develop an assessment framework, assessment rubric, assessment criteria hierarchy and grading to support your credit-based and direct-assessment CBE courses, and to meet the needs of federal and state regulatory requirements.

What are competencies?

A competency is a skill or conceptual understanding. Typically a competency assessment focuses on how well the learner is performing the required skill in relation to specified performance standards.

Digital Assess can help your institution develop reliable competency criteria that assess the learning outcomes described in your competency based program.


What are summative assessments in the context of CBE?

These are cumulative assessments that evaluate student learning, knowledge application, and/or skills achievement as it relates to the desired competencies. Summative assessments can encompass one or more competencies, and measure a student’s level of mastery. Summative assessments can take the form of either an objective-based assessment, an authentic, project-based assessment or a synoptic assessment

Digital Assess can help your institution develop summative assessments that assess your competency based program.

What is an authentic project-based assessment?

This is central to competency based education and competency based assessment. It is the assessment of authentic evidence produced by the student to demonstrate how well they are performing the required skill / competency in relation to a specified performance standard. The authentic project is a task or series of tasks designed to allow the student to produce evidence of mastery of the competency. Ideally the task should be developed in a real life or authentic setting and the assessment capture and assess authentic evidence. The assessment criteria that accompanies the task, evaluates the evidence to determine the level of Mastery and are based on the performance standard. Mastery is defined as comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject area as demonstrated through assessment.


Definition of
Mastery of
Competency i.e.
the performance standard

Assessment Deliverable that
Produces Evidence
of Mastery

Criteria that
Evidence to
Determine Level
of Mastery

Digital Assess can help your institution develop authentic project-based assessment that assess individual competencies. The design of authentic project-based assessments should result in the student creating and demonstrating real-life authentic deliverables. This form of assessment has high face and construct validity and is highly regarded as credible and reliable and will meet the needs of federal and state regulatory requirements.

What are synoptic or capstone assessments?

Synoptic or capstone assessments helps develop a student’s appreciation and understanding of the connections between the different elements of a body of knowledge and skills and are typically administered at the end of a course.. It requires the student to identify and use effectively, in an integrated way, an appropriate selection of skills, techniques, concepts, theories and knowledge from across the constituent competencies of the course. The official definition is: “A form of assessment which requires a student to demonstrate that s/he can identify and use effectively in an integrated way an appropriate selection of skills, techniques, concepts, theories, and knowledge from across the competencies of a course, which are relevant to a key task.”

Synoptic assessment is a highly valid form of assessment and compensates for the atomized nature modular assessment. As a consequence the synoptic assessment approach is increasing being used internationally and is strongly advocated by many international assessment regulators because of the opportunity it affords leaners’ to demonstrate that they can master individual competencies but more importantly understand how these competencies are combined and integrated in a real life scenario. Digital Assess has extensive experience in supporting assessment bodies and institutions deliver synoptic assessment and we can help your institution develop summative synoptic assessments that will meet the needs of federal, regional and state regulatory requirements.

What are transferable skills?

Transferable Skills are essential abilities which are valued by employers in many professional fields and form the basis for lifelong learning.

Transferable Skills are learning outcomes such as: Communication, Critical Thinking, Information, Literacy, Diversity and Teamwork, Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and Digital Fluency. Students often have the opportunity to demonstrate these outcomes in a number of courses across their competency based programs of study.

Digital Assess can help your institution track and assess Transferable Skills demonstrated by students within individual unit modules and or across the entire competency based program. The assessment and recording of transferable skills can be quickly and easily integrated into the unit / module assessment and does not have to be an additional or time consuming activity.

What are the requirements of a transcript?

Federal Student Aid, which is an office of the U.S. Department of Education require institutions involved in competency-based programs to demonstrate that students are achieving at least the same outcomes and at the same academic rigor as in traditional programs and courses offered by the institution. To this end the institution has to prepare and maintain a transcript for each student documenting both the competencies earned and the equivalent courses or credit hours. The transcript must be prepared and updated during the course of the student’s academic program so that it is available in the event that a student transfers to another institution or drops out prior to completing the competency-based program. In addition, the transcript provides clear and sufficient information for other institutions and employers to understand the student’s accomplishments.

Digital Assess are able to work with institutions to develop transcripts for competency based courses. These transcripts can be self-generating and an integral part of the ongoing assessment process. The transcript aims to provide a score for each individual course competency and in general terms can include an ongoing record of:

  • The scores for the summatively assessed module competencies
  • Achieved score for Transferable Skills (competencies) which are often mapped to the module competencies and woven into the programme outcomes.
  • Achieved unit /course equivalencies or credit hours