The concept of competency (or competence) entered educational policy by the end of last century. Due to this concept's background in recruitment and because of its generic character, many definitions have been given, but so far no unified, transparent, and consistent definition has come forward. The concept of competency has also reached art education. Due to the “artistic” character of this domain of learning, this concept seems to be a powerful instrument to describe the types of behavior and learning goals that are typical for this domain and for the related ways of thinking, working, and learning. This article gives a critical overview of what is seen as typical for what competency refers to in the domain of (art) education. A new definition of competency is presented that covers both the productive and the receptive domains of learning in visual art education. The constituent elements of this definition are discussed in detail. The analysis is broadened to include aspects of human cognition and behavior that can be considered as typical for visual art education, such as the aesthetic experience and its moral dimension.

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