A comprehensive record for competency-based education

How can student records most accurately reflect student learning?--That’s the question driving the pilot Comprehensive Student Records (CSR) project funded by a grant from Lumina Foundation and spearheaded by AACRAO and NASPA: Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education.

The project is focused on developing comprehensive student records that document evidence of student learning and achievement beyond traditional course names, credits, and grades. The current project includes twelve higher education institutions(listed below)* – two- and four-year, public and private – that are already developing records that display learning outcomes, use competency-based education approaches to education and/or document co-curricular experiences.

AACRAO is publishing a series of institutional profiles about each model record, the campus-wide collaboration required to enact change, and the goals each model is designed to achieve. Each of the institutions involved in the pilot project serves a different student population. Brandman University, part of the Chapman University system, is a private, non-profit institution serving working adults and military members online and at 27 campus locations throughout California and Washington.

 

Brandman University offers two direct-assessment competency-based education programs—a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) and a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT).  Given the school’s focus on serving working adults, the BSIT seemed like a good opportunity to develop a visual comprehensive student record (CSR) that could be useful to students and employers alike. Rather than a traditional transcript, the BSIT record is a holistic, professional profile, co-created by the student and the university.

Building the CSR

Brandman students access their information through the MyBrandman portal.  Within this portal, they utilize a Career Planning and Development site, CareerLink. Students in the BBA and BSIT programs will have a unique tool in CareerLink--MyPath, a comprehensive professional history and planning site specifically for CBE students that tracks a student from admission to alumni. MyPath includes coursework, library access, academic advising, transcripts, financial aid and billing information, class schedule, professional development resources and educational plan.

“The record creates a holistic picture of the value and skills a student has to offer to potential employers or another educational institution,” said Katy Curameng, Director of Career Planning and Development. “It will include a summary of who the student is professionally, including their resume, as well as space to build a portfolio with uploaded documents or links which showcase their talents and experience. Additionally there will be a university-verified section which will contain information loaded directly from the University, such as degrees, badges, certificates, competencies, and so on.”

A student’s CSR is populated from three sources, as follows:

  1. University-verified direct feed. Information automatically imported from Banner to CSR, such as degree(s), academic program/major, competencies and courses completed, badges completed, and university-sanctioned certifications.
  2. University-verified student-submitted documents. Information verified by applicable school official through predetermined workflow. Examples include university internships and organization memberships.
  3. Unverified, student-submitted documents. These might include a portfolio, professional/military/work citations, volunteer activities, non-university certifications. This section of the profile includes a disclaimer.

The student can change privacy settings as well as create multiple versions of the record, tailored to their unique needs, allowing them to create a meaningful and relevant document specific to their career field or educational goals.

Brandman is working with a vendor to create a graphic for the summary and metadata, and administrators hope to have a prototype up and running by the end of the calendar year. Once the pilot is ready, students, faculty, and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to offer review and feedback before the implementation timeline is set.

Usability and portability

The document will be available to print as a PDF but is designed, and will be encouraged, to be viewed electronically as a dynamic, portable document.

“Whoever is viewing can click on a link—say, click ‘Innovation and Creativity’—to expand and view the description, criteria and evidence for that badge,” Curameng said.

 “As higher education changes, the transcript and student records will need to reflect evidence of student learning,” said Laurie Dodge, Vice Provost and Vice Chancellor of Institutional Assessment Planning. “Employers and schools want to know more than a course title and grade, and students want to share evidence of acquired knowledge, skills, and abilities on professional networking sites like LinkedIn.  The CSR offers a great opportunity for employers to see what students have actually learned.”

 

* The twelve institutions are as follows (with links to previous Connect profiles):

Borough of Manhattan Community College

Brandman University

Dillard University

Elon University

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

LaGuardia Community College

Stanford University

University of Central Oklahoma

University of Houston-Downtown

University of Maryland University College

University of South Carolina

University of Wisconsin – Extension and Wisconsin Colleges