Adopting a competency-based model: mapping curricula and assessing student progress.J Health Adm Educ. 2008 Winter; 25(1):37-51.JH
Much attention has been focused on integrating competency-based curricula into educational programs in health management. Achieving the benefits of competency-based curricula requires substantial effort to identify competencies that are both specific and comprehensive, and that reflect consensus among faculty and stakeholders. The objective of this paper is to describe an approach to competency-based curriculum development and monitoring of students' progress toward competency achievement. Our approach identifies 20 competency areas, organized in technical, analytical/conceptual, and interpersonal domains. We demonstrate how individual courses can be mapped to these 20 competency areas and provide survey data on students' and graduates' self-rated competencies. We find the self-rated competencies of new graduates were significantly higher than the self-rated competencies of entering students in 17 of the 20 areas. Our work illustrates an approach to competency-based education that is feasible and helpful for program planning and evaluation. The list of competencies is tractable; the mapping of competencies to didactic coursework and practical experiences is clear and reflects reasonable consensus among faculty and preceptors. Finally, the approach is flexible, as competency areas can be added and removed to be responsive to new research evidence and the changing needs of the field.