Skip to content Skip to Live Chat
Close Nav

Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

Assessments Allow Students to Prove their Competency

The Core of Our Flexible Competency-Based Approach

Assessments, Not Classes

WGU’s academic approach is competency-based and dedicated to producing highly competent graduates. Instead of basing progress on credit hours and seat time in the classroom (physical or virtual), WGU awards degrees by measuring students' demonstrated skills and knowledge (competencies) in specific subject areas.

WGU’s competency-based academic approach utilizes a variety of assessments to measure your skills and knowledge in your chosen field. These assessments require you to demonstrate that you understand concepts and can perform them in real-life situations. Assessments can take many forms, including objective exams, research papers, assignments, projects, and essays.

The bottom line: You’ll learn what you need to succeed. Your diploma will mean you’ve mastered the essential skills and knowledge the workplace demands—and that you've proved it.

Courses of Study

Your degree program at WGU is composed of a number of Courses of Study (COS). Each Course of Study contains all of the necessary components for competency development in each subject area, including:

  • Learning resources
  • Instructors
  • Community support
  • Plan of study

These combine to help you know where to turn if questions arise and to help you establish a manageable pace for learning as you prepare for the final assessment.

Flexibility is built in to accommodate all types of students. You aren't required to complete all coursework, you don't have to move through the material in a set order, and you can attempt an assessment at any point. Every detail is laid out for you at the beginning of a course—you'll know what to expect, what resources are available, and what is required to pass the course.

The Assessments

As a WGU student, you will be required to demonstrate your mastery of competencies in a variety of ways. An assessment may be a traditional test, a project, an essay, or another practical demonstration of a required skill. Assessments can take many forms. Here are some examples from various programs:

  • Assignments involving problem-solving (e.g., science or information technology).
  • Computerized exams consisting of 50 multiple-choice, matching, and other question types (e.g., mathematics).
  • Projects requiring the student to design a lesson plan (e.g., teaching).
  • Reflection essays about case studies (e.g., MBA).
  • Research papers on particular topics within the student’s field.

Your assessments align to demonstrate specific competencies in your chosen field.

View of WGU course study plan. Degree Plan Example

How Assessments are Determined

Assessments at WGU are developed using a rigorous process that conforms to accreditation requirements and professional testing standards. WGU relies upon an Assessment Program Council, comprising leading test experts. This process yields high-quality exams, reliable scores, and supports valid conclusions about each student’s level of competence.

Remote-Proctored Assessments

Objective assessments—what we call traditional multiple-choice-style tests—are common in many of our programs. Because of WGU's commitment to both quality and accessibility, it's crucial that we conduct these tests in a way that is both secure and convenient. Thanks to webcam technology and online proctoring services, WGU enables you to take tests from the comfort, privacy, and convenience of your home or office—while simultaneously ensuring that the highest testing standards are maintained.

Text evaluation icon

What's Next?

When you're ready to enroll, a WGU Enrollment Counselor will help you through the process.

Get started