Competencies Over Calendars?

Traditionally, higher education has operated on a traditional semester schedule, although recently FHSU and other institutions have developed offerings in 8-week, 5-week, and even 3-week formats.

The Atlantic offers a different approach, cataloging a new method of competency-based education.  Students achieve learning outcomes on their schedule and move on to the next only after the have successfully achieved competency in each.

Should more institutions try such a method out?  The initial results are mixed:

But while there has been anecdotal evidence that CBE is working for certain types of students and serving them well, there hasn’t been much high-quality evidence or research to prove it. Early evidence suggests a mix of good and not-so-good outcomes, said Matt Soldner, a principal researcher at American Institutes for Research who described himself as these programs’ “critical friend”.

Workforce and employer needs are partially driving this new exploration:

A recent Ellucian-American Council on Education survey of more than 250 college and university leaders found that the majority of respondents, 68 percent, are looking to CBE to expand opportunities for nontraditional, diverse learners across age and demographic groups. The same percentage of leaders considered CBE a solution to address workforce needs.

Would such a model work for graduate education?


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