competencies2A database of resources for articulating competencies relevant to MPP/MPA program requirements and to the practice of public management

The first table includes competency statements for MPP/MPA programs, and a sample of institutions in which graduates of these programs might be employed.

The second table includes examples and resources for specifying learning outcomes.

Below the tables are additional resources related to competencies, learning outcomes and assessment. Note also Most Useful Concepts and An Outcomes-based Framework for Evaluating MPP and MPA Programs, as well as Canada’s Community of Scholars and Teachers of Public Administration and Policy.

Competency statements
MPP/MPA Standards

Comparison of Competency Standards

Atlas Examination Standards




CAPPA Standards for Student Competencies

Light’s Typology of Standard Core and Skills for Success


Policy Profession Competencies and Atlas Topics

SES Executive Core Competencies

UK Policy Professional Standards 2019

NZ Policy Skills Framework 2019

NZ Policy Methods Toolbox 2015

TBS Leadership
Competencies 2015

UK Civil Service Leadership Statement 2015

UK Civil Service Competency Framework 2012-2017

Policy Profession – UK Civil Service Skills and Knowledge Framework 2013

CMHC Dictionary of Behavioural Competencies

Ontario Public Service Leader-Manager Competencies

The OPS Leader-Manager Competency Guide 2010

Public Financial Management Training, Ontario 2010

Guide to Competencies in the OPS (Ontario, 2004)

Ontario Public Service Competency Refresh Dictionary 2003

International Governmental Organizations

OECD Core Competencies

Learning Outcomes, Knowledge, Skills and Competencies (concept definitions by the EC)


Michigan State Behavioral Competencies

Learning outcomes
MPP/MPA Core Learning Outcomes Describing Learning Outcomes

Characteristics of Good Learning Outcomes

ANZSOG’s Core Subjects and Learning Outcomes

ANU Crawford Learning Outcomes

Melbourne MPPM Learning Outcomes

Competency requirements by standards-setting bodies

Accrediting bodies often require educational institutions to express the competencies they are aiming to provide students in the form of learning outcomes, and to demonstrate how the learning outcomes are evaluated. For example, see the five NASPAA Domains of Universal Required Competencies (Standard 5.1) and examples of competencies from Pages 66−69 in NASPAA Self Study Instructions 05.21.2014, Appendix B, Examples of Competency Statements (at, accessed 15 December 2015).


Student learning in some topics can be adequately evaluated through traditional “pencil and paper” examinations. For examples of these, see Mapping Open Courseware Tests by Public Management Subject. For other topics it is preferable to evaluate student learning by assessing the results of a course assignment using a grading rubric. For a review of the application of rubrics, see the 2006 On-line Guide prepared by University of Colorado, Denver and Cornell University’s Using Rubrics. Interesting examples of rubrics for complex learning outcomes are Washington State University’s 2006 Guide to Rating Critical and Integrative Thinking and Carnegie Mellon’s Rubrics for oral presentations and projects. Also worth noting is that all courses listed in Handbook for the University of Melbourne School of Government (and those of other departments as well) have sections on Learning Outcomes and on Assessment (see Melbourne MPPM Learning Outcomes).

Additional resources on learning outcomes and assessment

Preparing Tomorrow’s Public Service (The Volcker Alliance, link to full report below)

Assessment Strategies – Modules (Teaching and Learning, Queen’s University)

Active Learning – Modules (Teaching and Learning, Queen’s University)

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CELT, Iowa State)

How to Assess Students’ Learning and Performance (Eberly Center, Carnegie Mellon)

Tool Kit from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

Rubric Bank (University of Hawaii, Manoa)

Examples of Learning Outcomes (CTSI, Toronto)

Further Resources on Learning Outcomes (CTSI, Toronto)

Competency Resources Assembled by the Employment Studies Institute (ESI, Kuala Lumpur)

Behavioural competencies page for National Research Council Canada

Recent articles

The Volcker Alliance (2018). Preparing Tomorrow’s Public Service – What the Next Generation Needs, at, accessed 24 February 2020.

Paul Fain (2016). Plan to Define and Test What Students Should Know, Inside Higher Ed, 31 May 2016, at, accessed 31 May 2016.

Robert Shireman (2016). The Real Value of What Students Do in College, The Century Foundation, 25 February 2016, at, accessed 31 May 2016.

Liu, Q. (2015). Outcomes-Based Education Initiatives in Ontario Postsecondary Education: Case Studies. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, at, accessed 31 May 2016.

Lennon, M. C., Frank, B., Humphreys, J., Lenton, R., Madsen, K., Omri, A., & Turner, R. (2014). Tuning: Identifying and Measuring Sector-Based Learning Outcomes in Postsecondary Education. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, at, accessed 31 May 2016.

YouTube video – Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning / Eric Mazur [Dudley Herschbach Teacher/Scientist Lecture] (2013), at, accessed 30 September 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 5 May 2020.

Image: Competency Based Education and Social Work, at, accessed 15 December 2015.