The Competency Model in Higher Education: Marginal or Mainstream?

Yesterday, Excelsior College President John Ebersole had an opportunity to participate on an Eduventures panel focused on the relevancy of competency-based degree programs in higher education. These are programs which emphasize “outputs” or demonstrated mastery of course material rather than “inputs” or the amount of time spent in a classroom, also known as seat time.

Competency degrees are not new. Excelsior, which was founded over forty years ago, first offered Excelsior College Examinations (ECEs) in 1971 – pre-dating College Level Examination Program (CLEP) by seven years. Competency models are considered highly efficient and affordable, but have yet to enter the mainstream. However, acute budgetary pressures, greater competition among online providers, degree attainment goals, and a groundswell of education innovation have pushed competency back into the discussion.

Yesterday’s online webinar featuring President Ebersole aimed to answer three questions:

  • Why are mainstream schools moving into competency programs – and is there clear consumer demand?
  • What is the reality of the regulation of competency-based higher education?
  • What do we know about the performance of competency-based degrees – in terms of completion, employment and income?

Listen to an archive of the complete webinar discussion here.