Postsecondary Competency-Based Education
Postsecondary competency-based education (CBE) is receiving considerable attention from advocates, colleges, and policymakers as a method for helping more students complete high-quality postsecondary credentials in less time and at a lower cost.
CBE provides structured learning opportunities that are designed by postsecondary institutions and lead to recognized educational credentials. They are created by backward design from a disciplinary perspective on what a credential holder should know and be able to do and are assessed authentically. Examples include Direct Assessment programs and non-Direct Assessment CBE programs. CBE has the potential to provide access to economic opportunity, through a postsecondary credential, for more learners.
Despite CBE’s growing popularity in postsecondary education, additional research still is needed to address unanswered questions and ultimately inform the actions taken by policymakers, practitioners, and students.
What We Do
Our work includes the following:
The National Research Collaborative on Postsecondary Competency-Based Education is a community of researchers dedicated to building evidence about postsecondary competency-based education and learning.
The National Survey of Postsecondary Competency-Based Education surveys postsecondary institutions in the United States to better understand both adoption of CBE and perceptions of CBE.
AIR’s postsecondary CBE research is aimed at studying CBE’s efficacy and providing tools to program leaders and researchers to support research, evaluation, and continuous improvement efforts.
CBE and Learner Self-Direction: Findings from an Exploratory Study (March 2020, PDF)