Fiona Deller – Need to Read No. 2

Pathways, ROIs and competencies

If you are interested in student transitions and pathways and you are not following the work being done in BC, you should take a look at the latest report in the BC transitions project, which follows students who entered a bachelor’s degree program in 2005.

For a new installment on postsecondary education’s return on investment, considerStatistics Canada’s report on the long-term labour market premiums of only having a high school credential. Another topic of interest in this area concerns the long-term prospects of liberal arts majors. The Association of American Colleges and Universities says they are good (spoiler).  You can purchase that report on their website, or read takes on the report from Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. For contrast, The Atlanticposes something of a counter argument.

If you are watching the British experiment with uncapped student numbers and higher tuition, you should read this from the Times Higher Ed.  Australia brought in uncapped student spaces in 2008. The perceived tension between access and quality should sound familiar in this Times piece.

Speaking of quality… How do we know that graduating students have the skills and knowledge we think they do? A Time magazine item says university exit exams, portfolios or summative assignments can help with that.  On the subject of skills and competencies, this summary piece from the National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment summarizes current practices in learning outcomes assessment in the US.  And this consortium of competency-based American institutions will be interesting to watch.

Finally (for now), consider Caroline Hoxby’s take on how online learning (including MOOCs) might fit into economically sustainable models of postsecondary education.

Happy reading.

-Fiona Deller, Executive Director, Policy & Partnerships

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