Should the credit hour be abandoned?

Arthur Levine has a provocative post at Inside Higher Education today, calling for the abandon of the dominant method of categorizing college work, the Carnegie Unit (or, more commonly, credit hour).

Levine points out that the credit hour was an industrial-era invention based on time, not skill or proficiency.  As more institutions adopt more direct assessments of student learning, is the credit hour an arbitrary measure of work for today’s university?

Advice on assessment

This morning’s Inside Higher Education has a good read on the need for careful assessment of direct learning outcomes.  The liberal arts are a particularly challenging area to assess because some of the elements they provide very well take time to produce and do not assess well within a given course (see the reference to graduates having ‘tolerance for ambiguity’ for example) and may only emerge on reflection toward the end of a degree.