CASS / Competency And Skills System

The CASS Project mission is to facilitate the transition to competency-based education, training, and credentialing through the development and dissemination of open source infrastructure and tools. 

The three areas of focus for CASS are competency portabilitycompetency reporting and resource alignment. Code developed by the CASS project is being released under an open source Apache 2.0 license and is intended to be adopted and modified for both commercial and non-commercial use.


CASS is a community effort that strives to incorporate, support, and add value to the work of the many individuals and organizations involved in competency-based education and training. 

Base funding for CASS has been provided by the US Advanced Distributed Learning initiative, and CASS is collaborating with the Credential Transparency Initiative, the IMS Global Learning Consortium, and other relevant initiatives and has been influenced by the work of organizations such as the IEEE Learning Technology Standards CommitteeMedBiquitous, the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative, and the Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards. Contributions of code, use cases, user stories, references, resources, and comments are welcomed and will be shared with the community on this site and on GitHub.

Why CASS Matters

Competency portability enables multiple organizations, learning resources, and software systems to reference common sets of competencies. In the CASS vision, diverse authoring tools, learning management systems, learning record stores, learning object repositories and registries, intelligent tutors, simulations, online courses, certificates, transcripts, and résumés could all refer to and retrieve information about the same competencies via persistent URLs in a standardized manner.

This vision is neither unique nor new. It is reflected in technical standards for representing and exchanging competencies and competency frameworks, i.e. sets of competencies in a specific domain and relations among them, and efforts such as the Achievement Standards Network and O*Net.  It is our hope that CASS will support all of these by providing readily available, open source infrastructure and end-user tools that handle the many complexities of importing, exporting, defining, maintaining, managing, publishing, and applying competencies and competency frameworks.

Competency reporting is the process of reporting the competencies that an individual has attained in response to an authorized query. In the CASS model, queries are made by software systems. CASS verifies authorization, gathers evidence and assertions of competency, and applies rules to answer the query in a way that the requesting system can understand.  The evidence and assertions can come from learning activities, training systems, learning record stores, learning management systems, credentials, and other sources, as long as those sources can programmatically interface with CASS and can support a data security, identity, and privacy framework that is compatible with CASS. 

Resource alignment refers to identifying the competencies that resources (or learning activities) address, assess, and can validate and then appropriately tagging the resources with these competencies. These tags can be used for search and discovery in repositories and registries, for developing learning paths, and for reporting learning outcomes. There are many existing tools for determining alignments, both manual and automated, and it is not the intention of the CASS project to replace these tools. Although CASS will provide a user interface for tagging resources in the Learning Registry, its more general application is connecting to registries and setting up the alignment process by identifying the tags required by the target resources and enabling the alignment tools to encode portable competencies in those tags.

Join Us

Contributing: The Cass Project is an open source effort. Contributions of all types are appreciated and necessary for its success. If you are ready to join the discussion and share your ideas, please join us on Slack.  To keep up-to-date on progress and to follow specific calls for contributions, please sign up for the CASS mailing list.