Center For American Progress Urges ‘Game-Changing’ Higher Education Reforms

Career College Central summary:

  • In an effort to bring new ideas and policy recommendations to the ongoing national discussion on higher education reform, the Center for American Progress think tank released a pair of reports this week that highlight three higher education reform models.
  • In “A Path Forward: Game-Changing Reforms in Higher Education and the Implications for Business and Financing Models” and “Meeting Students Where They Are: Profiles of Students in Competency-based Degree Programs,” Center for American Progress (CAP) officials put forth reform ideas “to improve and strengthen the connection between higher-education systems and employers, and urges an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to boost program completion, reduce educational costs, and improve the overall quality of the nation’s postsecondary education system.”
  • Dr. David Bergeron, the CAP vice president for postsecondary education, describes the traditional approach in U.S. higher education as highly limiting in that it expects students to cram their educations into “preset credit hours and academic calendars.”
  • “By making learning student-centric and providing program flexibility, students can flourish within an academic setting that rewards demonstrated competencies and allows students to build off of prior learning,” Bergeron said in a statement.
  • “A Path Forward,” written by Bergeron, presents three approaches that “hold significant promise” for improving U.S. higher education. They are Guided Pathways to Success, stackable credentials and competency-based learning. In “Meeting Students Where They Are,” authors Rebecca Klein-Collins and Elizabeth Baylor examine competency-based education and document the experiences of students who have opted for competency-based degree programs.
  • During a public CAP forum event on Wednesday, federal education officials, along with reform advocates and practitioners, focused largely on the competency-based education idea and its practice at Southern New Hampshire University, one of several U.S. higher education institutions practicing competency-based education.

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