How is the DQR structured?

The DQR describes professional and personal competences on eight levels. These competences serve as a guide to the allocation of qualifications which are acquired in general education, higher education and in vocational education and training. The levels have a uniform structure. On each level they describe the competences required for the acquisition of a qualification. The DQR distinguishes between two categories of competences. “Professional competence” is subdivided into “knowledge” and “skills”, and “personal competence” is divided into “social competence” and “autonomy”.

The concept of competence has an important role to play in the DQR. It expresses the core aim of all areas of the German education system which is to enable learners to acquire a comprehensive ability to act (“Umfassende Handlungskompetenz”) within an academic subject or field of occupational activity. The focus is not on isolated knowledge and skills but on the ability and readiness to act in a knowledgeable and responsible manner within a specialist area. The DQR relates the learning outcomes linked with a qualification to the professional and personal development of the individual (specialist competence – personal competence). In doing so, it also makes reference to personal attitudes and approaches. This is expressed in a variety of ways in the curricula and regulatory instruments of the various education sectors:

  • School-based learning is not only focused on the acquisition of knowledge and cultural techniques, i.e. the skills and competences needed to master new media, but also aims to encourage the constructive collaboration of the individual in learning groups.
  • Work-based learning in the company includes the development of quality awareness and customer orientation.
  • Higher education aims to enable independent academic working subject to professional standards in compliance with the social responsibility of research.

Competences are the outcomes of learning processes which continue to have an effect in practical contexts within life. In principle, these can be acquired in a range of learning locations. This is particularly apparent at levels 5 to 7. For example, DQR level 6 is defined as “competences for the planning, processing and evaluation of wide-ranging specialist tasks and problems and for the autonomous management of processes” (level indicator). The DQR therefore shows that these competences can be the result of learning in vocational education and training as well as in higher education (“in sub-areas of a academic subject or in a field of occupational activity”).