Background: As the life sciences have become more computational and data intensive, the pressure to incorporate the requisite training into life-science education and training programs has increased. To facilitate curriculum development, various sets of bioinformatics competencies have been articulated; however, these have proved difficult to implement in practice. Addressing this issue, we have created a curriculum design and evaluation tool – the Mastery Rubric for Bioinformatics (MR-Bi) - to support the development of specific Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) that promote bioinformatics practice and the achievement of competencies.
Methods: 12 KSAs were extracted, and stages along a developmental trajectory were identified. The KSAs and their performance level descriptors at each stage were formulated, ultimately yielding the MR-Bi.
Results and Conclusions: The MR-Bi prioritizes the development of independence and scientific reasoning. It can be used by practicing scientists at all career stages to direct their (and their team’s) acquisition of new, or to deepen existing, bioinformatics KSAs. It can be used to strengthen teaching and learning and for curriculum building. It can thereby contribute to the cultivation of a next generation of bioinformaticians who can design reproducible and rigorous research, and to critically analyze results from their own, and others’, work.