Virtual School Meanderings

March 19, 2012

Report: State Strategies for Awarding Credit to Support Student Learning

Last week yet another report was released about moving away from granting credit based on seat time and towards some form of competency based system.  This report, entitled State Strategies for Awarding Credit to Support Student Learning, was released by the National Governors Association (see press release here).

As I’ve indicated in the past, I’m not necessarily against this kind of measure, I just need to see some data for why it would be a valid thing to do – beyond the normal rhetoric and calls for educational reform (almost all of which are ideologically motivated).  For example, this new report begins:

Research has called into question the ability of America’s education system to produce the highly skilled workforce demanded by a 21st century economy. Reforms to increase student readiness for college and careers are hampered, in part, by an underlying education system that dictates inputs such as the amount of time students are required to complete a course (commonly known as “seat time”). States may not be able to realize the full potential of education reform until the system’s focus shifts from time-based inputs to student learning outputs tied to the mastery of content and skills. (p. 1)

What is interesting – or at this stage predictably – is that the report cites no research to support that “the ability of America’s education system to produce the highly skilled workforce demanded by a 21st century economy” has been called into question.  It also cites no research that the current efforts towards educational reform will have any meaningful impact on that problem.  Finally, it provides no empirical justification for why seat time is preventing these reforms – that we have no evidence will actually work – from occurring.  In fact, this report cites no independent or peer reviewed research at all!

And folks wonder why educated, informed people question their leaders?

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