Earlier we defined a competency as: the ability to perform a specific workplace task with a predetermined level of proficiency.
Any given workplace task varies in its difficulty depending upon the context in which it occurs. For example, communication varies in difficulty depending upon the receiver(s) of the communication, the nature of the message, the distractions present, and so on. In health care, the difficulty of assessing a patient depends hugely upon the characteristics of the particular patient. Even an apparently “simple” physical activity like climbing a ladder varies in difficulty with the nature of the ladder, the environmental conditions, the load that must be carried, etc. When we talk about a “level of proficiency” we mean, to put it simply: how good the worker is at carrying out the task.
Unless we know the level of proficiency expected, it is impossible to undertake competency-based training or competency-based assessment. Perfect performance under all conceivable conditions is neither realistic nor achievable.
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