One of this decade’s fads in higher education is “competency-” or “proficiency-based” education. The discourse around it is littered with phrases and concepts that are seductive to the left-leaning progressive educator. Personalized, flexible, affordable alterna-tive, transcending hours in seats, students gain ownership of their degree, accountability, employable skills, real world, etc.
This Inside Higher Ed piece raises one alternative take: does competency-based approach to curricula so fully buy into the student as consumer that it will eliminate the “off-rubric” experiences that might not be directly applicable to some skill but that might be the very stuff of growing up, seeing the world in a new way, and the transformation that education is really all about.
Another thing for those ready to jump on the competency bandwagon to think about is who is steering the train where. Ed reformers are skilled at generating strange-bedfellows in the audience for their ideas. I might like competencies as a way of motivating pedagogical innovation, but am I on-board with those who would design college curricula around the needs of corporate employers?
- “Missouri Budget Tiff Exposes Doubts About Competency Based Education” Chronicle of Higher Education 21 March 2014.