Competency-based education (CBE), a learning model focused on demonstrated proficiency in well-defined competencies rather than on the amount of time students spend in the classroom, influenced niche higher education markets in the United States for decades. However, the lack of a consensus definition limited CBE’s widespread acceptance by the traditional academic community. In the early 21st century, concerns about accessibility and affordability led to renewed interest in and experimentation with CBE models in higher education. Despite this resurgence of interest, defining CBE as a concept remained problematic and underscored the need to clarify the conceptual use and understanding of CBE. Settings for the research included the ERIC online library, resource libraries of three national CBE initiatives, and official policymaker websites. Rodgers’ evolutionary approach to concept analysis, emphasizing the evolution of concepts, shaped the research design of this qualitative study. Documents published in 1973–1983 and 2005–2015, 2 eras of intense postsecondary CBE experimentation, comprised the purposive sample. Using the described method, CBE characteristics were categorized in stakeholder and temporal contexts and common characteristics identified. Although this study confirmed a lack of consensus definition, it also revealed three characteristics fundamental to CBE. At its’ core, CBE is a learning model with (a) explicitly stated competencies; (b) progression determined by demonstrated performance; and (c) an individualized instruction framework well suited to mature learners with life and work experience beyond school. These core characteristics support an adaptable framework providing a foundation for CBE’s enduring presence in the higher education landscape of the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries.
|Advisor:||Voorhees, Courte C.|
|Commitee:||Hegeman, Johnston Jay, Shipway, Ann M.|
|School:||Frostburg State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational evaluation, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Competency-based education, Concept analysis|
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