About half of those who get bachelor’s degrees start out at
community or junior colleges. At some four year colleges a significant portion of their tuition revenue comes from transfer students. The challenges of credit transfer have been known for years and yet most institutions devote few resources to “articulation agreements” and transfer policies. When efforts are made, faculty rarely find the task interesting enough or important enough to be involved, leaving the work to admissions or registrar staff.
Ironically, perhaps, faculty then complain at how much extra work advising students is as they try to pretzel themselves to get through general education and major requirements that are designed with four year students in mind.
There are strong practical (financial), pedagogical, and ethical reasons to get this right, but, perhaps, it will take state and federal regulation to move this ball down the field.
- Assessment is based on competencies. So think in terms of competencies so assessment can happen.
- Competencies help faculty, students, employers, policymakers have common understanding about skills and knowledge students should have as result of education.
- Articulating competencies facilitates design of curriculum and teaching and evaluation methods.
But it is part of a bigger picture. One piece of this is the argument that “other stakeholders” should have more of a say in what faculty are teaching students. These would be employers and governments.
Another piece is concern that certification for competence should be “transportable.” For some this means from school to school. In Europe it means between national higher education systems. The “political” rub comes when it means between schools and other entities that can offer certification – in other words, it is a tool meant to break the monopoly that colleges and universities have on being the place where society can spend its education dollars.
Yet another issue raised is reliability and validity (of the means of certifying competence). Reliability means different evaluators evaluate the same person the same way. Validity means that the outcome of an evaluation is an evaluation of what we think it is.