Blog > BC Schools Using Competencies as a Measurement Tool Instead of Grades

BC Schools Using Competencies as a Measurement Tool Instead of Grades

by Susan Forseille, Thompson River University
by Susan Forseille, Thompson River University, posted on January 31, 2018
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There are two PSE highly innovative initiatives in British Columbia that is very exciting. One is embedded in UBC's Draft Strategic Plan, the other is Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Portfolio Pathway Partnership. Both initiatives offer a glimpse into historic changes that could substantially alter how students transition into and out of PSE.

  • UBC's Draft Strategic Plan, under Transformative Learning, page 14, (remove extra space) proposes a "re-framing of undergraduate academic program design in competencies rather than credit hours: we will move towards competencies as a primary metric of program structure and completion, reflecting the growing premium on transferable and cognitive skills, and better engaging student curiosity and agency in how they acquire and demonstrate proficiency."  
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University is looking at competency versus traditional letter grades, for admittance. Their reason for this innovation is intended to create a pathway through which students from the Surrey School District can be admitted to KPU with their portfolios, which are designed to show a more complete picture of each and every individual's skills and abilities than traditional letter grades. The goal, then, of the S3P project is to bridge the gap that currently exists between the K-12 school system and post-secondary. This goal is in line with the K-16 movement - which seeks to improve the transition from grade 12 to post-secondary study. It is also in line with KPU's open access mandate, because of which we look for talent that others might not see."