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Concepts and Competencies

Concepts and Competencies are elements in an ASU assessment plan that are required by ABOR.  Each one directly relates to the program learning outcome in their own way.

Concepts are a high-level description of the theories, ideas, paradigms, and understandings that comprise a given profession or field of study. They cover the knowledge areas, theories, and principles students will draw upon in the successful execution of the outcome. 

Competencies, on the other hand, are the skills, tools, and operational knowledge required to achieve and successfully execute the outcome. Competencies break down the outcome into measurable components. 

For example, the purpose of an accounting program is often to graduate students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become professional accountants. Competencies for such a program would include ability to assess, analyze, and manage risk using appropriate frameworks. On the other hand, concepts students would master include business law, ethics, process analysis and design, principles of auditing, and monetary unit assumptions.

The number of concepts and competencies taught in a higher education program can be abundant, yet not all need to be included in an assessment plan. Programs need to identify the skills and operational knowledge that are summative in nature; in other words, which skills are built from knowing other skills.

For further guidance on writing concepts and competencies, please visit the Concept and Competencies section of the handbook or go to the Concept, Competencies, Measure, and Performance Criteria section of the Canvas site.