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What is Competency-Based Education?

In 2020, California began piloting the CBE initiative with the CCCO’s Direct Assessment CBE Collaborative and in 2021, the Orange County Regional Consortium selected CBE as a priority Strong Workforce project, led by Coastline College and involving the remaining 8 OC Community Colleges:  Orange Coast College, Golden West College, Cypress College, Fullerton College, Irvine Valley College, Saddleback College, Santa Ana College, and Santiago Canyon College.  

CBE focuses on a mastery of knowledge or skills rather than a seat time to complete a course. This flexible, targeted approach is an important next step for the evolution of higher education to provide inclusive pathways to credential attainment and in-demand jobs.  The CBE movement has the potential to put hundreds of thousands of eligible working adults on the pathway to attaining degrees and higher-skill jobs. 

Orange County Community Colleges are joining forces to continue the conversation on CBE, drive the initiative, and establish the metrics that measure student and program success.  The goals of these discussions and regional convenings are:

  • Share out the developments of the CCCO’s Direct Assessment CBE Collaborative

  • Discuss and establish CBE best practices and a framework that supports student success

  • Distribute information for educators to bring back to college boards and stakeholders

  • Plan the implementation of the CBE format in colleges’ Career Education programs

  • Eliminate equity and opportunity gaps by creating degree programs accessible to all learners, especially underrepresented student populations

  • Identify competencies with industry and employer needs, increasing job-readiness

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