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Aurora Institute

What’s New in Competency-Based Higher Education?

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Natalie Slocum

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

Higher Education CBE ModelsScreen Shot 2014-08-30 at 7.22.41 AM

  • Chris Sturgis reflects on her experiences at CBExchange, and in this blog post, she makes sense of the variation across competency-based higher education models. Stay tuned—several blogs are forthcoming which will elaborate on her findings.
  • Roughly 600 colleges are actively designing or implementing competency education programs, up from 52 institutions last year. A group of college officials is meeting in Phoenix to develop competency-based credentials and discuss quality.

News from the US Department of Education


  • The Educational Leadership program in Texas Tech University’s College of Education will partner with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) to build a grant-funded, competency-based training model for school principals. The $7.2 million federal Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant will impact leadership training in high-need schools in Texas, Louisiana and Indiana.
  • Brandman University partnered with Flat World Knowledge to create MyPath, which incorporates adaptive learning, game-based learning, data analytics and social learning in a competency-based education model.

News and Resources

  • Achieve and Jobs for the Future jointly published Integrating Earning College Credit in High Schools into Accountability Systems. Because earning college credit prior to postsecondary enrollment is a predictor of college success, both Achieve and Jobs for the Future encourage states to incorporate measures into their accountability systems relating to earning college credit in high school.
  • President and Chief Executive of the Lumina Foundation Jamie P. Merisotis argues that we need to modernize U.S. higher education. In this interview, he discusses competency education, improving equity, and how to invigorate action.
  • Dan Butin offers an interesting criticism to Arthur Levine’s article, where he analyzes whether competency-based education will be the true future of higher education.
  • Wendi Thomas, a 47-year old married mother of two teenagers, tells her story of returning to school to continue her education—made possible due to the flexibility inherent in competency-based higher education.

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