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Washington Blesses “Stuff Learned vs. Time Served” Degree Program


The US Department of Education has approved financial aid for College for America, an online program that Southern New Hampshire University calls “the first degree program to completely decouple from the credit hour.”

Marc Parry at the Chronicle Of Higher Education Wired Campus Blog reports (h/t Tyler Cowen):

Unlike the typical experience in which students advance by completing semester-long, multicredit courses, students in College for America have no courses or traditional professors. These working-adult students make progress toward an associate degree by demonstrating mastery of 120 competencies. Competencies are phrased as ‘can do’ statements, such as ‘can use logic, reasoning, and analysis to address a business problem’ or ‘can analyze works of art in terms of their historical and cultural contexts.’

We’re happy to see Washington giving aid to higher ed programs based on a “stuff learned vs. time served” model. There are better measures of competence than the number of hours per week a student spent sitting in lecture halls, a fact that is not lost on employers. The convenience and low-cost of online, knowledge-based programs are also a boon for the poor and underprivileged.

It’s good to see the Department of Education on the reform bandwagon.

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  • Jim Luebke

    Fascinating. This might actually bring back skill-based hiring practices — not a bad idea.

  • Bruno_Behrend

    Imagine a section on your LinkedIn or FB account that showed everything from your first grade addition test/quiz to your Finance 101 competency.

    Imagine a section where you have video of the wiring tasks you’ve completed or the plumbing tasks you are rated for.

    Imagine the entire corrupt edifice of over-staffed and over-funded educators, administrators, testing cartels and bureaucrats comes crashing down, along with your property and income tax bill.

    It’s a wonderful vision.

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