Competency Terms and Definitions

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“Common language” is important as we explore Competency Management in VTA 7.0.  The terms and definitions below follow the sequence of activities starting with defining Competencies (and their Proficiency Indicators), creating a Competency Profile, assessing Competencies, and arriving at a Personal Development Plan.

Competent A term describing a person possessing the skills, knowledge and/or experience to successfully perform a task to a set performance criteria. A student is considered competent when an Assessor has assessed him/her for the Competency with a Proficiency Level that is equal to or greater than the target Proficiency Level set for the Competency in the Competency Profile.
Competency The ability required for success in a job that is measured against pre-defined, standard performance criteria.
Competency Groups


A competency group is simply a collection of competencies. VTA uses groups for displaying competencies on Assessments and for reporting purposes.
Competency Types


A way to classify Competencies across groups in order to set consistent standards for their use. For example, competencies may be classified around the three educational domains of Knowledge, Skill and Behavior.
Proficiency Level


Proficiency Levels make up the range or scale of proficiency against which a student is assessed for a given Competency.  For example, levels may include Awareness, Basic Application, Skillful Application and Mastery; a 4-level range.  Each Competency has a list of measurable/observable Proficiency Indicators (performance criteria) for each Proficiency Level.

Each organization may establish their own number of proficiency levels in VTA from 1 to 6 but do note that Proficiency Levels are set as an enterprise standard whose numbers can NOT be changed once defined.

Proficiency Indicator Proficiency Indicators are measurable/observable behaviors used to assess which Proficiency Level a student has achieved (or needs to achieve) for a given Competency. Each Competency has Proficiency Indicators defined for every Proficiency Level.

Competency Group: Business Acumen
Competency: Customer Relationships
Proficiency Level: Skillful Application
Proficiency Indicator: Builds effective partnerships.

Competency Profiles


Competency Profiles are a collection of Competencies with target Proficiency Levels required for successful performance of a specific position or function in an organization.

Profiles can be assigned to:
Single Student
Work Areas
Job Titles
All students
Custom Categories

Profiles can be designated as either Mandatory or Developmental.

Assessment Assessment is the process by which an Assessor or student (in case of a self-evaluation) assesses the student’s Competency by comparing observed performance against a defined set of Proficiency Indicators to determine his/her Proficiency Level.
Assessor Assessors are qualified individuals who evaluate whether a student has demonstrated competence to a designated Proficiency Level (e.g., Awareness, Basic Application, Skillful Application, and Mastery) for an assigned Competency.

Assessors can be any or all of the following:
Primary Supervisor
Work Area Supervisor
Team Supervisor
Department Supervisor
Named Assessor

Personal Development  Plan


A Personal Development Plan is an action plan through which any number of Tasks, Courses, and/or Resources are assigned to a student with a target completion date.

Personal Development Plan items are assigned Importance Levels for prioritization. For example, plan items may be organized as:


Whether your focus is on developing a competent workforce for today or positioning your organization for future demands, VTA’s Competency Management system can manage broad-based, organizational-wide competencies while accommodating those unique technical competencies that are found at the individual locations.

If you’re thinking about moving towards Competency-based Talent Management, why not set up your own pilot study using VTA’s Competency Management system with your own competency model or commercially available models?  When you’re ready for that first step, RISC is here to help you!

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Duncan Welder IV
Mr. Welder holds a Master’s of Education from Texas A&M University in Educational Technology and has more than 15 years experience in implementation of Learning Management Systems, both domestically and abroad. Mr. Welder has been recognized for his application of Learning Management Systems to manage regulatory-compliance in industries ranging from petrochemicals to finance and has provided presentations to professional organizations including the Gulf Coast Process Technology Alliance, the Northwest Process Technology Alliance and the American Society of Training and Development.
Mr. Welder’s career is founded in traditional instructional design and computer-based training development. He is a certified Development Dimensions International facilitator, a Kirkpatrick Certified Evaluator and facilitator of the Ohio State University curriculum development program. In addition to working in industry, Mr. Welder has held adjunct faculty positions at Bowling Green State University, Ohio and the College of the Mainland, Texas. Mr. Welder has been published in both Training Magazine as well as US Business Review.