The Gender4STEM competency model: methodology note

The Gender4STEM competency model (also called matrix) is the output used to design the Gender4STEM self-assessment questionnaire. This questionnaire is one of the two options provided to teachers to access gender fair teaching materials on the Gender4STEM Teaching Assistant platform.

As stated by several authors (e.g. Campion et al.[1]), a competency model refers to collections of knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) that are needed for effective performance in a job. In some models, attitudes might be replaced by abilities, but we preferred focusing on attitudes as a behavioral variable, a key component to deal with teacher-pupil relations. Note that some abilities are considered as skills in our model. As for Gender4STEM, this model is therefore a collection of KSA of people (mainly teachers) who have to perform teaching practices.


Our model is broken down into 5 main teaching practices, which are based on the referenced teaching framework and focus groups with the Gender4Stem consortium of partners. In addition, these KSA have been defined thanks to the semi-structured interviews with teachers in each country represented in the Gender4STEM consortium of partners. Each practice is broken down into several KSA.

As stereotypes and counter-arguments were a starting point of the point, every variable of the model (KSA, stereotypes, counter-arguments) were interconnected through the consensual ratings of the consortium. To the sake of parsimony, only the main teaching practices, its KSA and the main sources are displayed on the GTA platform.


The main challenge of the modelling phase was to achieve “the Proper Level of Granularity (Number of Competencies and Amount of Detail)” as suggested by Campion et al. (2011).

Desire for detail and desire for parsimony is always a tricky mix. Even if “there really is no ideal number of competencies”, we decided to keep the number of KSA under 100 for our first iteration. After several back and forth with the consortium, we reach a final list of 28 knowledge, 44 skills and 12 attitudes.

There is no guarantee that future versions of the model will keep the same number of KSA (less or more). This choice will be made empirically, thanks to the feedback of the platform users, the literature and every components of the GTA that might directly or indirectly influence the model (the questionnaire, the teaching materials, the stereotypes and the counter-arguments, etc.).


To conclude this methodological note, we have to consider the future challenge that will face our model: we will have to maintain “the currency of competencies over time” (Campion et al. 2011), in other words to keep it up to date.


As every modelling process, we spent considerable time in the initial development and implementation of our competency model. Nevertheless, a similar consideration will be necessary to maintain its usefulness and currency over time.


According to the feedback we will receive from the platform users, we will update its content.

Even if the core of the teacher profession will remain the same for a long time (the 5 main practices), the sub-dimensions (KSA) might change. Without being exhaustive, some changes related to society, disciplines, technologies, the peer-teacher and peer-peer relation might have an impact.


[1] Campion, M., Fink, A.A., Ruggeberg, B.J., Consulting, A., Carr, L.L., Phillips, G.M., & Odman, R.B. (2011). DOING COMPETENCIES WELL: BEST PRACTICES IN COMPETENCY MODELING.

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