The frontier is open, education department – stuff learned vs. time spent

One territory in the open frontier of the education world is the idea of assessing knowledge acquired instead of counting time spent in chairs.

Two articles last week point to the possibilities, both from Via Meadia:

College Too Expensive? Try the $5,000 degree – Second sentence of the post:

The New York Times has a profile of Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey, which lets its students cobble together coursework and test credits earned from a variety of institutions, including online, potentially at a significantly lower cost than traditional four-year institutions.

The New York Times article linked above explains the college allows students to get credit for learning obtained during life as long as there is some way to test it.

Of course the entrenched educational world doesn’t like this approach. However, check out these results:

Results have quieted most naysayers, Dr. Pruitt said. For example, Thomas Edison graduates had the highest pass rate on the exam for certified public accountants in New Jersey, in the latest national accounting-boards report.

There are two emerging alternatives to the GED for people whom 4 years of high school doesn’t work:  The GED Gets Some Competition.

McGraw-Hill and Educational Testing Services are both rolling out new tests to fill the adult testing niche currently occupied by the GED, and they’re already getting some traction: New York State, among others, is planning to switch from the GED to one of these two competitors.

Testing that a student knows material is as valuable as a piece of paper from a high school. A tested result shows a student knows the material even though they couldn’t sit through all four years of classes, regardless of whether the testing is documented by a GED from American Council of Education or from McGraw-Hill or ETS.

More options to provide credentials of what someone knows is a very, very good thing.

The frontier is open.

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