The relationship between perceived competence and earned credits in competence-based higher education

J.C. Kamphorst, W.H.A. Hofman, E.P.W.A. Jansen, C. Terlouw

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We explored how two types of study outcomes, perceived competence and earned credits, are interrelated, and influenced by self-regulation, motivation (intrinsic value and expectancy of procrastination) and deep approach to learning. The relationships between these variables were analysed in a sample of 894 first-year Dutch university students, using linear structural modelling. Results show that learning process factors play other roles in explaining perceived competence than in explaining earned credits. Perceived competence and earned credits, as two sides of the same coin in competence-based education, are only weakly related. Furthermore, this study shows that it is most likely that perceived competence affects earned credits, but a model in which earned credits affects perceived competence as possible causal relationship was also accepted, although the relationship remains weak. The practical implication of this study is that, as long as perceived competence and the number of credits are not related, competence-based higher education will not obtain optimal efficiency. For participants and researchers in higher education, it remains important to be aware that different learning goals may evoke different study behaviours in students, and the challenge for higher education is to align these goals.
Translated title of the contributionHet verband tussen (zelf-)competentie en behaalde studiepunten in competentie-gericht onderwijs
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-661
JournalAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • higher education
  • motivation


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