Competency and Equity: Fallacies and Dangers of “Outcome-based” Education

Competency and Equity: Fallacies and Dangers of “Outcome-based” Education

Published April 3, 2024

Competency-based education and training and equity go hand-in-hand. Both are designed to promote “equitable” or supposedly “equal” outcomes for all. This is presented as a good approach as it will create a “level playing field” for graduates and those who ostensibly complete a course of training. Therefore there need be no discrimination when awarding  employment or any other reward based on the certificate of completion—and “competency.”  Everyone will have an “equitable” standing when facing future opportunities. 

There are some dangers in this approach. These concepts change the focus of education from the goal of developing the real potential of each individual human being, which may vary widely due to many variables in each person’s make-up, to setting the goal, or outcome, of education or training at a “competency” level. This really means that no matter what capabilities, intellectual gifts, special aptitudes, or other unique individual characteristics a child may possess at birth, his or her future will be based on meeting the same criteria or outcome as every other student. This will effectively homogenize each student. No one will ostensibly have an “unfair” advantage in the marketplace, in the college application process, or in consideration for any other avenue they choose to pursue as adults.

Competency-based education provides equitable outcome and opportunity. 

In order to avoid the “complications” of variable outcomes, competencies can easily be developed so that the maximum number of applicants can attain those competencies.  Competencies are generalized outcomes that are easily attained and may be the very minimal, perhaps even below a safe or reasonable minimum outside a classroom or training environment. Almost all applicants can appear to meet a “competency,” due to vague and sometimes variable measures for attainment, despite how “competencies” may be presented in order for them to appear reasonable. Parameters of the outcome desired are the measure of success, not the abilities or aptitudes of the student or the likelihood of future successful performance of any competency outside the classroom environment or without special accommodations. 

For those who understand the pitfalls and consequences of outcome-based education and training, competency and equity are almost inseparable. We must not be misled into supporting these concepts if we wish to live in a truly fair, safe, and productive world where individuality, merit, and the public good remain part of our social values and commitment.

After starting to home school her own children in the mid 1970s, Meg Johnson was recognized nationally and internationally as a home schooling pioneer and leader. She holds advanced degrees in education, has been a school teacher and administrator, is a published author, speaker and advocate for home schooling and parental rights. She was accepted for inclusion in multiple “Who’s Who” volumes of international leaders in the 1980s. Her deep understanding of the concepts of freedom, responsibility, rights, and the dangers of the administrative state provide her with a sound perspective on the dangers we face from our government today.

Subscribe to ConservaTruth's Email Newsletter for curated insights on South Carolina's legislative activities and conservative viewpoints, delivered straight to your inbox! With vetted and easy-to-understand information, our newsletter empowers you to become an informed and engaged citizen, actively participating in safeguarding our cherished Constitutional values. Don’t miss out on crucial updates—join our community of informed conservatives today!