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Definitions of SCANS Competencies and Foundation Skills

Definitions of SCANS Competencies and Foundation Skills


Foundation Skills



C1 Allocates Time

Selects relevant, goal-related activities, ranks them in order of importance, allocates time to activities, and understands, prepares, and follows schedules. Competent performance in managing time includes properly identifying tasks to be completed; ranking tasks in order of importance; developing and following an effective, workable schedule based on accurate estimates of such things as importance of tasks, time to complete tasks, time available for completion, and tasks deadlines; avoiding wasting time; and accurately evaluating and adjusting a schedule.

C2 Allocates Money

Uses or prepares budgets, including making cost and revenue forecasts, keeps detailed records to track budget performance, and makes appropriate adjustments. Competent performance in managing money includes accurately preparing and using a budget according to a consistent and orderly accounting method; accurately calculating future budgetary needs based on projected costs and revenues; accurately tracking the extent to which actual costs and revenues differ from the estimated budget, and taking appropriate and effective actions.

C3 Allocates Material and Facility Resources

Acquires, stores, and distributes materials, supplies, parts, equipment, space, or final products in order to make the best use of them. Competent performance in managing material and facility resources includes carefully planning the steps involved in the acquisition, storage, and distribution of resources; safely and efficiently acquiring, transporting or storing them; maintaining them in good condition; and distributing them to the end user.

C4 Allocates Human Resources

Assesses knowledge and skills and distributes work accordingly, evaluates performance and provides feedback. Competent performance in managing human resources includes accurately assessing peoples' knowledge, skills, abilities, and potential; identifying present and future workload; making effective matches between individual talents and workload; and actively monitoring performance and providing feedback.

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C5 Acquires and Evaluates Information

Identifies need for data, obtains them from existing sources or creates them, and evaluates their relevance and accuracy. Competently performing the tasks of acquiring data and evaluating information includes analytic questions to determine specific information needs; selecting possible information and evaluating its appropriateness; and determining when new information must be created.

C6 Organizes and Maintains Information

Organizes, processes, and maintains written or computerized records and other forms of information in a systematic fashion. Competently performing the tasks of organizing and maintaining information includes understanding and organizing information from computer, visual, oral and physical sources in readily accessible formats, such as computerized data bases, spreadsheets, microfiche, video disks, paper files, etc.; when necessary, transforming data into different formats in order to organize them by the application of various methods such as sorting, classifying, or more formal methods.

C7 Interprets and Communicates Information

Selects and analyzes information and communicates the results to others using oral, written, graphic, pictorial, or multi-media methods. Competently performing the tasks of communicating and interpreting information to others includes determining information to be communicated; identifying the best methods to present information (e.g., overheads, handouts); if necessary, converting to desired format and conveying information to other through a variety of means including oral presentation, written communication, etc.

C8 Uses Computers to Process Information

Employs computers to acquire, organize, analyze, and communicate information. Competently using computers to process information includes entering, modifying, retrieving, storing, and verifying data and other information; choosing format for display (e.g., line graphs, bar graphs, tables, pie charts, narrative); and ensuring the accurate conversion of information into the chosen format.

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C9 Participates as a Member of a Team

Works cooperatively with others and contributes to group with ideas, suggestions, and effort. Demonstrating competence in participating as a member of a team includes doing own share of tasks necessary to complete a project; encouraging team members by listening and responding appropriately to their contributions; building on individual team members' strengths; resolving differences for the benefit of the team; taking personal responsibility for accomplishing goals; and responsibly challenging existing procedures, policies, or authorities.

C10 Teaches Others - Helps others learn

Demonstrating competence in teaching others includes helping others to apply related concepts and theories to task through coaching or other means; identifying training needs; conveying job information to allow others to see its applicability and relevance to tasks; and assessing performance and providing constructive feedback/reinforcement.

C11 Serves Clients/Customers

Works and communicates with clients and customers to satisfy their expectations. Demonstrating competence in serving clients and customers includes actively listening to customers to avoid misunderstandings and identifying needs; communicating in a positive manner especially when handling complaints or conflict; efficiently obtaining additional resources to satisfy client needs

C12 Exercises Leadership

Communicates thoughts, feelings, and ideas to justify a position, encourages, persuades, convinces, or otherwise motivates an individual or groups, including responsibly challenging existing procedures, policies, or authority. Demonstrating competence in exercising leadership includes making positive use of the rules/value followed by others; justifying a position logically and appropriately; establishing credibility through competence and integrity; taking minority viewpoints into consideration.

C13 Negotiates to Arrive at a Decision

Works toward an agreement that may involve exchanging specific resources or resolving divergent interests. Demonstrating competence in negotiating to arrive at a decision involves researching opposition and the history of the conflict; setting realistic and attainable goals; presenting facts and arguments; listening to and reflecting on what has been said; clarifying problems and resolving conflicts; adjusting quickly to new facts/ideas; proposing and examining possible options; and making reasonable compromises.

C14 Works with Cultural Diversity

Works well with men and women and with a variety of ethnic, social, or educational backgrounds. Demonstrating competence in working with cultural diversity involves understanding one's own culture and those of others and how they differ; respecting the rights of others while helping them make cultural adjustments where necessary; basing impressions on individual performance, not on stereotypes; understanding concerns of members of other ethnic and gender groups.

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C15 Understands Systems

Knows how social, organizational, and technological systems work and operates effectively within them. Demonstrating competence in understanding systems involves knowing how a system's structures relate to goals; responding to the demands of the system/organization; knowing the right people to ask for information and where to get resources; and functioning within the formal and informal codes of the social/organizational system.

C16 Monitors and Corrects Performance

Distinguishes trends, predicts impact of actions on system operations, diagnoses deviations in the function of a system/organization, and takes necessary action to correct performance. Demonstrating competence in monitoring and correcting performance includes identifying trends and gathering needed information about how the system is intended to function; detecting deviations from system's intended purpose; troubleshooting the system: making changes to the system to rectify system functioning and to ensure quality of product.

C17 Improves and Designs Systems

Makes suggestions to modify existing systems to improve products or services, and develops new or alternative systems. Demonstrating competence in improving or designing systems involves making suggestions for improving the functioning of the system/organization; recommending alternative system designs bases on relevant feedback; and responsibly challenging the status quo to benefit the larger system.

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C18 Selects Technology

Judges which set of procedures, tools, or machines, including computers and their programs, will produce the desired results. Demonstrating competence in selecting technology includes determining desired outcomes and applicable constraints; visualizing the necessary methods and applicable technology; evaluating specifications; and judging which machine or tool will produce the results.

C19 Applies Technology to Task

Understands the overall intent and the proper procedures for setting up and operating machines, including computers and their programming systems. Demonstrating competence in how to apply technology to task includes understanding how different parts of machines interact and how machines interact with broader production systems; on occasion installing machines including computers; setting up machines or systems of machines efficiently to get desired results; accurately interpreting machine output; and detecting errors from program output.

C20 Maintains and Troubleshoots Technology

Prevents, identifies, or solves problems in machines, computers, and other technologies. Demonstrating competence in maintaining and troubleshooting technology includes identifying, understanding, and performing routine preventative maintenance and service on technology; detecting more serious programs; generating workable solutions to correct deviations; and recognizing when to get additional help.

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Foundation Skills


F1 Reading

Locates, understands, and interprets written information in prose and documents -- including manuals, graphs, and schedules -- to perform tasks; learns from text by determining the main idea or essential message; identifies relevant details, facts, and specifications; infers or locates the meaning of unknown or technical vocabulary; judges the accuracy, appropriateness, style, and plausibility of reports, proposals, or theories of other writers.

F2 Writing

Communicates thoughts, ideas, information, and messages in writing; records information completely and accurately; composes and creates documents such as letters, directions, manuals, reports, proposals, graphs, flow charts; uses language, style, organization, and format appropriate to the subject matter, purpose, and audience. Includes supporting documentation and attends to level of detail; checks, edits, and revises for correct information, appropriate emphasis, form, grammar, spelling and punctuation.

F3 Arithmetic

Performs basic computations; uses basic numerical concepts such as whole numbers and percentages in practical situations; makes reasonable estimates of arithmetic results without a calculator; and uses tables, graphs, diagrams, and charts to obtain or convey quantitative information.

F5 Listening

Receives, attends to, interprets, and responds to verbal messages and other cues such as body language in ways that are appropriate to the purpose; for example, to comprehend, to learn, to critically evaluate, to appreciate, or to support the speaker.

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F6 Speaking

Organizes ideas and communicates oral messages appropriate to listeners and situations; participates in conversation, discussion, and group presentations; selects an appropriate medium for conveying a message; uses verbal language and other cues such as body language appropriate in style, tone, and level of complexity to the audience and the occasion; speaks clearly and communicates a message; understands and responds to listener feedback; and asks questions when needed.

F7 Creative Thinking

Uses imagination freely, combines ideas or information in new ways, makes connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, and reshapes goals in ways that reveal new possibilities.

F8 Decision Making

Specifies goals and constraints, generates alternatives, considers risks, and evaluates and chooses best alternative.

F9 Problem Solving

Recognizes that a problem exists (i.e., there is a discrepancy between what is and what should or could be); identifies possible reasons for the discrepancy, and devises and implements a plan of action to resolve it. Evaluates and monitors progress and revises plan as indicated by findings.

F10 Seeing Things in the Mind's Eye

Organizes and processes symbols, pictures, graphs, objects or other information; for example, sees a building from a blueprint; a system's operation from schematics; the flow of work activities from narrative descriptions; or the taste of food from reading a recipe.

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F13 Responsibility

Exerts a high level of effort and perseverance toward goal attainment. Works hard to become excellent at doing tasks by setting high standards, paying attention to details, working well and displaying a high level of concentration even when assigned an unpleasant task. Displays high standards of attendance, punctuality, enthusiasm, vitality, and optimism in approaching and completing tasks.

F15 Social

Demonstrates understanding, friendliness, adaptability, empathy and politeness in new and on-going group settings. Asserts self in familiar and unfamiliar social situations; relates well to others; responds appropriately as the situation requires; takes an interest in what others say and do.

F16 Self-Management

Assesses own knowledge, skills, and abilities accurately; sets well- defined and realistic personal goals; monitors progress toward goal attainment and motivates self through goal achievement; exhibits self-control and responds to feedback unemotionally and non-defensively; is a "self-starter."

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