How to measure competence in a subject

So, a question on competence that I doubt can be answered objectively.

I have seen a number of threads here where the question of someone’s competence in a subject / grasp of the literature is brought up. It raises the question in my mind as to how we can assess that from a personal level, especially where we are not actively working in the field as part of our day to day hour by hour working / studying lives.
With something like a language there is a measurable improvement in an ability to read texts, compare with other translations, and often grammar / syntax aids. When it comes to the field of linguistics, something that I struggle with is any possibility of measuring my progress here. I can start to understand concepts and read books and articles better, but it isn’t the same.

How can we assess levels of competence both for lay persons and professionals.

I am not pointing this at any individual on this board, and want to be clear I am not after people pointing to others here, or specific posts; it does however have a clear application. Terms like Dunning Kruger are something I am aware of, and ironically probably think I understand better than I do!

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By performance, one supposes. One person familiar with the literature and practices of a science should be able to decide whether another person is correctly using them. Of course in order to do that it’s necessary to designate the first competent judge. Who’s going to do that?

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Yep, frustrating. I guess the interactional component you have mentioned is the only way

Speaking from a personal experience, I have spent a small fortune on books on the subject areas I am interested in. But without interaction and only reading material it is doubtful that I am anything more than well informed. There is a big difference between studying and reading…

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