What’s New in Competency-Based Higher Education?
Amy Laitinen, a true leader in competency-based higher education, critiques the Department of Education’s failure to issue guidance for how it wants competency-based higher education to be implemented. Two years ago, the DOE and the Obama Administration unveiled a plan to allow higher education institutions to offer degrees based on competency; however, experimental sites are not off the ground because the DOE hasn’t provided guidance on how to construct and implement the competency-based experiments. Matt Reed provided a follow-up to Amy’s piece, where he explains why DOE guidance is important, and he speculates why the DOE is dragging its feet in issuing guidance around competency-based higher education policy.
Jasmine Hicks and Justin Yeater of Young Invincibles proposed that student support is a necessary underpinning to improve competency-based education. Recently, Young Invincibles talked to CBE students across the U.S. regarding different aspects of their programs, and students raved about the support they receive from advisors and coaches. Moving forward, programs should build strong academic and social support systems for students, through accessible coaches, advisors and tutors.
Competency-Based Education is Gaining Steam
- Competency-based higher education is experiencing explosive growth, with approximately three dozen institutions offering competency education programs and hundreds more in development.
- Laurie Dodge, Vice Chancellor of Institutional Assessment and Planning at Brandman University, explains how competency-based education changes everything. The University has been beta testing its MyPath CBE program and is planning a full launch this fall.
- The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a strong supporter of competency-based education, MOOCs, and other higher education alternatives.
- Competency-based education appears to finally becoming mainstream. This article explores the state of the field, the challenges that new CBE projects face, and how online learning has energized competency education.
- The Woodrow Wilson Foundation (in collaboration with MIT) is creating the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning Sciences, which will offer graduate programs in teacher education and school leadership, while serving as a lab to study what works in those fields. The aspiration is to combine the attributes of West Point, in preparing outstanding, cutting edge, career professionals, and Bell Labs in conducting the research necessary to advance the frontiers of education. MIT will serve as the incubator for the WW Academy, and the WW Academy will serve as a lab for MIT. The Academy, which will be competency- or outcome-based with a blended curriculum rooted in learning sciences, will begin with teacher education in the stem disciplines. The first class will enroll in 2017.
Other News in Competency-Based Higher Education
- Marco Rubio is publicly supporting competency-based education. His education plan is outlined in this article.
- Today’s educational focus tends to embed itself in college readiness and ensuring that our students graduate from high school with the knowledge, skills and competencies to be successful in college and life. This article by Elliot Washor and Chris Jackson flips the conversation, asking whether higher education institutions are “student-ready.”
- This article highlights how confusion and skepticism over education buzzwords can stifle reform efforts. It asks readers to develop definitions of buzzwords, including competency-based education, flipped classroom, adaptive learning, and digital humanities.