Factors Impacting Student Success in a Competency-Based Education College Course

Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Joel Gardner

Committee Member

Bora Pajo

Committee Member

Matthew Barclay


There is increased interest in the competency-based education (CBE) learning modality, and higher education institutions (HEIs) in the United States are experiencing increased enrollment in courses and programs offered in this format (Nodine T. R., 2016). This learning modality creates an opportunity for students to progress through a course or program at a quicker pace by demonstrating competency and mastery of learning outcomes. However, it can also present unique challenges for students completing a course in this learning environment, as well as course faculty and success coaches (academic success coaching staff) working with those students. No research on the factors that influence student success within CBE has been conducted. Therefore, the purpose of this research study was to identify factors that CBE students, course faculty, and success coaches perceive to facilitate or hinder student success in completing a CBE course in college. This qualitative study consists of online surveys and in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The three major themes and associated subthemes that make up the study’s findings highlight issues related to the flexibility and structure of this learning modality, student preparedness and expectations related to completing a CBE college course, and interaction and support available in this learning modality. The findings of this study provide insight into the factors perceived to impact student success in a CBE college course. Future research is needed to better understand impacts on student success and how to create more successful learning experiences for students in this learning modality.