Qualifications, learning outcomes and competencies. Terminological problems

Keywords: learning outcomes, competence, knowledge, skills, competence education, competence assessment, education, higher education, vocational education


The study of modern approaches to terminology in the system of qualifications, education and assessment is based on language sources in Ukrainian and English, legal documents of Ukraine and the European Union. The authors argue that in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine and the legislation of the European Union and the view of modern researchers of the purpose of learning, the results of the learning process should be formulated in terms of learning outcomes, not in terms of competencies. Competence in this sense means a person's ability to apply learning outcomes to achieve certain goals. The strict separation of learning outcomes and competencies has been confirmed by ISO standards and the new version of the European Qualifications Framework (2017). Learning outcomes should be interpreted much more broadly than the amount of knowledge and skills, they may include values, attitudes and so on. This approach is partially supported by the new legislation of Ukraine on education (2014-2017). Ukrainian law requires that learning outcomes be measurable.

An important remark concerns the interpretation of the term skills in Ukrainian. The Ukrainian language implies two meanings of this term: the skill as the ability to perform an activity that requires some thought and planning ("uminnia"), and the skill as the ability to perform the simplest stereotypical action, which becomes a habit (“navychka”). This feature of the Ukrainian language is reflected in the laws and allows to assess skills more elegant.

Excluding competencies from the list of learning outcomes does not deny the importance of competency-based learning and competency assessment, but helps to clarify these approaches.


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Author Biographies

Volodymyr Kovtunets, National Qualifications Agency

Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PhD. in Math), Associate Professor, National Qualifications Agency, Deputy Chairman, Ukraine

Nadiya Polishchuk, Kyiv National University of Theater, Film and Television named after Ivan Karpenko-Kary

Candidate of Philological Sciences (PhD. in Philology), Associate Professor, Kyiv National University of Theater, Film and Television named after Ivan Karpenko-Kary, Associate Professor, Ukraine


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How to Cite
Kovtunets, V., & Polishchuk, N. (2021). Qualifications, learning outcomes and competencies. Terminological problems. International Scientific Journal of Universities and Leadership, (12), 53-65. https://doi.org/10.31874/2520-6702-2021-12-2-53-65
Higher education in Ukraine in the context of the development of the European Higher Education Area