A trend in higher education away from “time served” to “stuff learned” could mean significant savings in both time and money for many college students.
According to Inside Higher Ed, more than 350 institutions now offer or are seeking to create competency-based degrees. So it’s a safe bet that we’ll be hearing more about this trend soon….
The “Flexible Option” at the University of Wisconsin currently offers five competency-based degrees. It’s the first public institution to receive permission to offer this kind of program….
The Lumina Foundation has been one of the most influential nonprofit groups pushing the idea of competency-based education….
Lumina is about to release the final version of a document called the “Degree Qualifications Profile.” It aims to provide a common basis for understanding the competencies required for an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree in any field.
In its draft form, around 400 institutions from small liberal arts colleges to large community colleges have begun to use the document in their strategic planning.
The University of Michigan is now on course to become one of the first public higher education institutions to offer a degree that can be achieved not through credit hours but on demonstrated proficiency in the subjects studied. According to Inside Higher Ed, Michigan’s regional accreditor has just approved a competency-based Master’s of Health Professions Education. The program is designed to give health professionals training in “carry[ing] out the full range of responsibilities of a scholarly educator-leader.”
Rigorous oversight will be essential to the success of this new way to grant degrees.
Freed of the credit-hour constraint, competency-based programs need to be a lot more rigorous and transparent about designing assessments. Otherwise, they risk turning into diploma mills.
… The more schools have the freedom to grant degrees on the basis of proficiency rather than “time served,” the more relevant to the demands of today’s economy higher education will become.