Competence: A tale of two constructs

Educational Philosophy and Theory 45 (12):1193-1204 (2013)
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This article examines the ‘integrated conception of competence’ as conceived by Paul Hager and David Beckett and suggests that its characterization in terms intended to distance it from behaviouristic and reductionist notions of competence is not sufficient to differentiate it from other models. Taking up Hager and Beckett’s idea that competence must be inferred from behaviour, it is suggested that this indicates how the integrated conception is more properly distinguished by virtue of the method used rather than what it is that is assessed. Drawing on the work of Wittgenstein and Donald Davidson, it is argued that it is possible to discern two logically distinct methodological approaches to competence assessment, allowing a clear distinction to be made between the integrated conception and the kind of approach which predominates in the UK’s framework of vocational qualifications. While the latter is shown to be rightly criticized for its deficiencies, in contrast the integrated conception is seen to suggest a methodological approach that is capable of acknowledging the full richness of occupational practice.



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Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1950 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1 (4):328-332.
Knowing One’s Own Mind.Donald Davidson - 1987 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 60 (3):441-458.

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