Competency-Based Education Network

For a growing number of students, the traditional college schedule, or the traditional way schools teach and deliver knowledge and skills, doesn't work. This is because many students these days attend classes part time, often balancing school with child rearing, caring for elderly family members and working. Many are older, or are first-generation college students. Many enroll in college after being in the workforce or serving in the military.

Because of this, those of us involved in higher education are exploring new ways to help students develop skills and earn a college credential. One such way is competency-based education (CBE), a model in which students make progress toward a degree by demonstrating what they've learned rather than by sitting in a class for a certain amount of time. Public Agenda is a supporting organization of the Competency-Based Education Network, a group of higher education institutions across the country who are working together on shared challenges to developing competency-based degree programs.

We're not advocates for or against competency-based education, and we do not endorse one approach or model of CBE over another. However, we believe we owe it to the country's students (and taxpayers and employers) to help higher education to evolve and better meet their needs, while also keeping their education and investment sound.

Related Content


Public Agenda knows what it takes to fuel progress on critical issues.
We need your support to keep things moving!

Join the Community


Take Action