I was interested in Dirksen’s Proficiency-Sophistication grid on Page 69 which uses Bloom’s taxonomy and Gery’s Proficiency scale: Familiarization, Comprehension, Conscious effort, Conscious action, Proficiency, Unconscious competence. While the levels seem somewhat obvious, the “Conscious effort” and “Conscious action” levels were somewhat confusing. I suppose it means, in the former, that there is a concentrated mental effort while performing the task, which is then supplanted by the conscious effort to perform the task without the same degree of mental effort. I was so interested that I ordered Gery’s Electronic Performance Support Systems (Used, it’s from 1991 without a digital version) hoping for an explanation of the levels of the scale. There was none. The scale appears on only one graphic:
So, I guess my guess at the meaning above will have to suffice. I think it’s important to have some idea of proficiency when describing learning objectives because the level of proficiency will dictate how much practice is required. In a lot of courses, one leaves without much confidence that one can do the job due to the lack of practice.
The National Institute of Health was the only other organization that used the terminology, “Proficiency Scale,” in their levels:
- Fundamental Awareness (basic knowledge)
- Novice (limited experience
- Intermediate (practical application)
- Advanced (applied theory)
- Expert (recognized authority)
However, Gery’s graphic did provide a useful term to search with “Competency Curves,” which led to finding some other “proficiency scales” by other names. One is the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition, which has five levels of increasing proficiency: Novice, Advanced beginner, Competent, Proficient, and Expert. There are also the four stages of competence: Unconscious incompetence, Conscious incompetence, Conscious competence, and Unconscious competence.
Competence is also impacted by the Dunning-Kruger effect, where unskilled individual overrate their ability.