Pearson Launches Competency-Based Education Framework and Readiness Assessment for Post-Secondary Education

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Seven-step model helps institutions assess their readiness to implement CBE programs.

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As the profile of an “average” college student changes, higher education institutions are taking on new learning models to address this shift and meet the demands for affordable and flexible education. One such model is emerging, known as Competency-Based Education (CBE), which allows students to advance based on their ability to master a skill or competency at their own pace. To help more institutions assess their readiness to implement this new model, Pearson announced a framework and assessment for Competency-Based Education that focuses on three main areas of creating an effective program: Prepare, Build and Sustain.

Pearson’s seven-step model seeks to help lay the groundwork for institutions interested in launching successful CBE programs. The CBE model builds a foundation of achievement, allowing institutions to serve more students in less time and at lower cost, with a focus on skills that lead to greater employability.

Pearson’s Strategic Consultant for Higher Education Services, Brian Epp, said, “By making our CBE framework details widely available, we hope to empower institutions to incorporate CBE into their teaching and learning models, as it’s materializing to be a viable and successful option for more students.”

Indeed, research is showing that interest around the CBE model is growing. Between 2013 and 2014, nearly 60 institutions joined one of several CBE development efforts via two Lumina funded initiatives — C-BEN and CAEL's Jump Start Program — and the Next Generation Learning Challenge's Incubator Program, which is managed by EDUCAUSE. This time period also saw significant activity among regional accreditation bodies, many of which are developing policy statements and guidelines for Direct Assessment CBE programs.

Pearson’s CBE framework and readiness assessment helps post-secondary institutions work through the following CBE considerations:

This phase addresses initial market analysis, including current demand, future growth, employment needs, and target students, as well as a thorough assessment of institutional readiness.

  • Initial Market Analysis
  • Institutional Readiness

This phase looks at detailed processes associated with program design, curriculum design and development, program scalability, marketing and recruitment, and admissions and registrations.

  • Developing the Model: 1) Program Design, 2) Curriculum Design and 3) Scalability
  • Marketing & Recruitment
  • Admission & Registration

This phase focuses on enrolled student engagement, including student engagement techniques, at-risk learner intervention, and advising, as well as data and improvement such as the ability to use data to evaluate student performance and improvement, and revise curriculum.

  • Enrolled Student Engagement
  • Data & Improvement

In addition to the steps outlined in the model, it is important to incorporate overarching themes, such as change management, data-driven decision-making, and technology system requirements, throughout all phases of the framework in order to increase likelihood of success.

Pearson will be co-hosting a webinar with The Chronicle of Higher Education on the topic of competency-based education on July 22nd. For more information on the webinar and to register, please visit this website.

For more information on Pearson’s competency-based education framework and readiness assessment, please visit the website.

About Pearson
Pearson is the world's leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. For more information about Pearson, visit

Media Contact: Stacy Skelly, stacy.skelly(at)pearson(dot)com or 800-745-8489

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