Verification of Competency - The Only Thing that Matters in Education

Concurrent Session 7

Brief Abstract

As institutions of learning, what is REALLY our job? It might be different than you think it is. Our primary responsibility is to provide qualified employees for the marketplace. As such, our responsibility is to verify skills our graduates have. I'll tell you about what and how we do at WGU to verify these skills and how we have gained recognition in the marketplace for producing graduates who meet their needs. 


Over my 10+ years with Western Governors University I have had the pleasure to initiate, work on, and execute some of the university's larger projects. These include the architecting, engineering, and rolling out of WGU's assessment delivery products, allowing for the delivery of more than 3 Million assessments annually. Currently serving as Sr. Principal Product Manager, my responsibilities include all WGU and vendor technology that is included in our portfolio of the Verification of Competency and Transcripts. In a previous life I ran an online magazine, tried my hand in real estate, and at one point almost signed up for culinary school.

Extended Abstract

The primary job of any educational institution is to help individuals become better equipped to compete in the marketplace. Sometimes that means teaching candidates new skills, other times it means confirming that the skills they already have are sufficient to gain employment and/or advance. Either way, the market will only hire individuals whom they believe to possess skills needed to fill the positions they need to fill. Our primary responsibility to our students is to teach and/or confirm those skills, and our primary responsibility to the marketplace is to make them trust that the skills we certify are true and relevant for their needs. At Western Governors Univeristy (WGU), we have focused on Competency Based Education (CBE) since our inception in the 1990's and have developed programs that will graduate more than 30,000 individuals this year. Those individuals' employers are rating our graduates as well prepared for the jobs they are hiring them for. 

In this presentation I will discuss the WGU approach to Verification fo Competency, including the delivery of online proctored, human evaluated, and computer scored assessments. We will go through exercises, with attendees, that will question all of their current processes and will allow them to self-evaluate the level of objective verification of competency they are currently undergoing with their students and customers.