ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

A Great Step Forward for Competency-Based Education

August 9, 2013 by Avi Snyder

Beneath all the bad news about student debt and skyrocketing tuition, exciting developments are happening that have the potential to revolutionize higher-ed.

Advocates of competency-based education received a boost when Northern Arizona University announced that it will begin issuing competency-based transcripts to students who enroll in a new program at the school.

As academic standards have declined and grade inflation has increased, the traditional college transcript has lost much of its meaning to potential employers. As Inside Higher Ed reports:

“Our employer studies show that employers basically find the transcript useless in evaluating job candidates,” Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, said in an e-mail message. “Higher education definitely needs to start fresh with a redesign of its public descriptions of student accomplishment.”

This innovative experiment in credentialing follows of the heels of newly updated learning assessments by a variety of educational testing companies that will focus on measuring the actual skills students gain in college.

As ACTA has argued, these types of tests could finally force colleges to measure what they are actually providing students for all those tuition dollars. Furthermore, competency-based credentialing has the potential to lower college costs by freeing students from having to shell out thousands of dollars to sit in classrooms simply so they can rack up credit hours.

Hopefully this experiment will be just the first of many for all those who want to truly reform higher education.

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