A CBE certificate or degree program is made up of CBE courses that allow students to progress at their own pace toward earning a certificate or degree. CBE programs have clearly defined learning objectives, or competencies, that students must master upon completion of the program. In most programs, students must pass a capstone assessment or complete a capstone project to demonstrate mastery of these program-level competencies.
There are five guiding principles for the development of high-quality CBE programs:
Source: Johnstone, S. M., & Soares, L. (2014). Principles for developing competency-based education programs.Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 46(2), 12-19.
Colleges that have created pilot CBE programs have identified competencies, or learning objectives, that they expect students to master upon completion of a certificate or degree. Some colleges use or adapt existing learning objectives that are already associated with the certificate or degree; others engage faculty and industry representatives to develop new competencies and to update existing ones based on industry standards.