A Pragmatic Framework for Assessing Learning Outcomes in Competency-Based Courses

Hector Vargas, Ruben Heradio, Gonzalo Farias, Zhongcheng Lei, Luis de la Torre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


<italic>Contribution:</italic> A competency assessment framework that enables learning analytics for course monitoring and continuous improvement. Our work fills the gap in systematic methods for competency assessment in higher education.

<italic>Background:</italic> Many institutions are shifting toward competency-based education (CBE), thus encouraging their educators to start evaluating their students under this paradigm. Previous research shows that structured assessment models are fundamental in guiding educators toward this adoption.

<italic>Intended Outcomes:</italic> An assessment model for CBE that is easy to adopt and use, while facilitating the application of learning analytics techniques.

<italic>Application Design:</italic> The new framework considerably extends a prior model we proposed three years ago. Two engineering competency-based courses used the framework for assessment. Assessment rubrics were prepared and used for evaluating and collecting the students&#x2019; data progressively, thus enabling the use of learning analytics for decision-making.

<italic>Findings:</italic> Thanks to the model: 1) students received a detailed report of their achievements, including a thorough explanation and justification of the evaluation criteria and 2) instructors could improve the course and provide objective evidence of their actions to quality assurance agencies. As a result, the framework is presently being used in 15 courses taught at eight different university degrees at the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso (PUCV).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Assessment
  • competency
  • Control system analysis
  • Control systems
  • Education
  • engineering education
  • learning outcome
  • Monitoring
  • Pragmatics
  • Standards
  • Systematics


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