April 18, 2014

Program supports competency-based education and credit for prior learning

Missouri has been chosen to participate in a national program that aims to increase completion rates at the state’s two- and four-year colleges and universities. The program focuses on competency-based education and credit for prior learning, which can reduce the amount of time required to earn a degree.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and the Missouri Community College Association were selected by the Council for Adult Experiential Learning for its Competency-Based Education Jumpstart Program. The two Missouri agencies will be working collaboratively with higher education institutions in the state to implement the program.

Competency-based education allows students to learn at their own pace based on their mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for a degree. Credit for prior learning programs award college credit based on students’ knowledge and skills, including experience acquired during military service.

The Jumpstart Program will provide training for staff working to establish the knowledge and skill levels students must demonstrate to earn a degree. The work includes the development of new ways to assess student learning at the college level.

 Colleges and universities in Missouri are in the early stages of developing competency-based education programs.  The programs focus on adult and nontraditional students, including veterans, who have gained knowledge and skills through prior employment and military service. Students demonstrate their learning through a variety of assessments and often can move on to advanced courses more rapidly as they work toward a degree.

“Competency-based education is one way Missouri can help students complete a postsecondary degree and create the educated workforce we need,” said David Russell, commissioner of higher education. “By 2018, nearly 60 percent of the jobs in our state will require a two- or four-year degree or professional certificate.”

Currently, students participating in two programs at Missouri community colleges – MoHealthWINs and MoManufacturing WINs – can earn college credit through competency-based education and credit for prior learning. The Jumpstart Program will provide further support for the MoWINs programs, which offer low-cost training for high-demand health care and manufacturing industries.

"The Jumpstart training will provide an excellent opportunity to ensure that the work our community colleges are doing in MoHealthWINs and MoManufacturingWINs has a lasting impact," said Zora Mulligan, director of the Missouri Community College Association.

Missouri will begin the Jumpstart Program training this fall. 

 

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