HEQCO releases "cautious" report on competency-based education

June 18, 2014

A new report published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario evaluates the cost, quality, productivity, and accountability of competency-based education (CBE). The report urges a cautious approach to CBE in Ontario. The authors note that it is plausible that CBE is a more reliable approach to delivering job-related skills, but say that they “could find no evidence to support the argument that competency-based education provides a better platform for student success.” Nor did they find evidence that employers have more confidence in CBE grads than non-CBE grads. They also emphasize the many differences between PSE in Ontario and the US, where CBE has received vocal support, pointing out that there is a “very large market niche” for CBE in the US that does not exist to the same extent in Ontario. The report also notes several structural and cultural challenges facing institutions hoping to adopt CBE in liberal arts, humanities, and science curricula. It concludes with a number of possible ways to better link the connections between degrees, competencies, and job-readiness. HEQCO Summary | Full Report