In recent years European universities have made a considerable effort to adapt to the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area.

Having achieved this goal, now one of the principal challenges can be summed up in the question “How can we assess competencies?”

The response of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) to this challenge is based on implementation of the Competency Training and Assessment Programme, known by its Catalan acronym, PFAxC.

Competency assessment in higher education requires universities to take steps aimed at making the following possible:

1. Coordination across different levels: the institution, degree programmes, teaching teams, tutors and so on.
2. Training lecturing staff in teaching strategies and assessment tools suited to competency-based learning.
3. Competency-based training of students.

This paper presents the BRICO resource bank and the strategy for training lecturing staff in assessment by competencies.

BRICO is the Catalan acronym for the “bank of resources and instruments for assessing competency-based learning”.

This tool was developed in the following phases: conceptualisation; design of the resource catalogue file; selection of the technology solution; development of a beta version; testing as part of the PFAxC pilot scheme (INTED’12)

As regards lecturer training, two workshops have been run focused on training in competency assessment. These were given by trainers specialising in communication and assessment based on competencies. A key factor in this respect was cooperation with the Institute for Education Sciences of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili.

In technical terms, BRICO is a repository created on the basis of the Moodle database module.

The key descriptor in the catalogue file consists of the transversal and core competencies defined in the URV teaching model. Thus, when an instrument is added or consulted by specifying the key competency, a list of instruments is given which can be used to assess the competency in question, for example learning to learn or working in a group.

BRICO currently contains more than 30 different instruments. Most of them come from the guides published by AQU, the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency, and the URV competency assessment guides. Others come from the Internet, while still others were supplied by URV lecturing staff.

It also features a glossary of terms with more than 30 entries.

BRICO was conceived as an interactive guide able to be constantly expanded and improved on the basis of interaction with and contributions by its users.

A phase of redesign and optimisation is currently under way, based on contributions by participants in the PFAxC pilot scheme and lecturing staff specialised both in competency assessment and in communication and innovation on the net and in multimedia environments.

Above and beyond the instrumental purpose of BRICO, the experience built up so far is resulting in the definition of a strategy and a tool which fosters not only improvements in lecturing staff’s skills in assessing learning and competencies, but also greater knowledge and recognition at internal level of the good practices implemented by lecturers at this university.

The challenge for the future is to transpose this experience onto an open environment in which the whole of the academic and scientific community can take part, with a view to helping to build a community of knowledge about competency assessment.