Competency-Based Education and Training.

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Competency-Based Education and Training

Competency-based education is perceived by some as the answer, by others as the wrong answer, to the improvement of education and training for the complex contemporary world (Harris et al. 1995). Popular in the United States in the 1970s in the performance-based vocational teacher education movement, competency approaches are riding a new wave in the 1990s with the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) system in England and Wales (begun in 1986), New Zealand's National Qualifications Framework, the competency standards endorsed by Australia's National Training Board (NTB), and the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) and the National Skills Standards initiative in the United States. Competency standards are propelled by a strong political impetus as the way to prepare the work force for the competitive global economy. At the same time, a growing chorus of critics argues that the approach is conceptually confused, empirically flawed, and inadequate for the needs of a learning society (Chappell 1996; Ecclestone 1997; Hyland 1994). Much of the debate is taking place in Britain and Australia, where there has been more time to examine the impact of the competency approach, and this publication therefore focuses on literature from those countries. However, the issues are relevant to vocational education anywhere. This publication looks at the claims of both sides in an attempt to locate the reality of competency-based education and training (CBET).

Competence: In the Eye of the Beholder?

Competence is a contested concept, the meaning of which is shaped by those who use it (Chappell 1996). Proponents of CBET promote it as a way to improve the correspondence ...

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...ralia: Deakin University, 1994. (ED 384 695)

Jones, L., and Moore, R. "Appropriating Competence." British Journal of Education and Work8, no. 2 (1995): 78-92. (EJ 512 995)

Mulcahy, D. "Performing Competencies: Of Training Protocols and Vocational Education Practices." Australian and New Zealand Journal of Vocational Education Research 4, no. 1 (May 1996): 35-67. (EJ 525 603)

Toohey, S.; Ryan, G.; McLean, J.; and Hughes, C. "Assessing Competency-Based Education and Training." Australian and New Zealand Journal of Vocational Education Research 3, no. 2 (November 1995): 86-117. (EJ 515 577)

Toye, J., and Vigor, P. Implementing NVQs. Brighton, England: Institute of Manpower Studies, University of Sussex, 1994. (ED 391 083)

Velde, C., and Hopkins, C. "Reporting Trainee Competence." Vocational Aspect of Education46, no. 3 (1994): 257-271. (EJ 500 802)

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