AACRAO and NASPA name comprehensive student record implementation institutions

October 28, 2015
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AACRAO and NASPA: Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education released the names of the eight higher education institutions chosen to pilot a project to develop models for a more comprehensive student record, funded by Lumina Foundation. The associations will convene the pilot group for a two-day symposium that kicks off the project and discusses the current limitations of academic transcripts as evidence of student learning and emerging models of student achievement that expand evidence beyond traditional course names, credits and grades.

Focusing on two- and four-year, public and private higher education institutions already developing competency or learning outcome education approaches and/or documenting co-curricular experiences, AACRAO and NASPA selected: Elon University, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Quinsigamond Community College, Stanford University, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Maryland University College, University of South Carolina, and University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin – Extension.

With $1.27 million Lumina Foundation funds supporting this work, the convening is the first step in a year-long project that aims to have a comprehensive student record delivered to some or all of the pilot institutions’ students. The transcripts will be created as digital secure documents and may be a part of or supplemental to the traditional course, credit, and grade report transcripts used to exchange student records today. The Degree Qualifications Profile will be tested as a framework to organize student competencies on the transcript in a way that better communicates what students know and are able to do. Campuses will be expected to equip academic and student services, student affairs, and other campus professionals with the knowledge and skills to utilize and sustain the extended transcript frameworks.

AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association working to make higher education more responsive to learners. With a membership of more than 12,500 higher education professionals representing approximately 2,300 institutions in more than 40 countries, the association provides advocacy, research, and policy-based guidance and training to higher education professionals to smooth the path for learners at every stage of their journey.

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. For more information, logon to www.luminafoundation.org.

For more information, contact Tom Green, Assoc. Executive Director, AACRAO.


Federal relations update on CBE

In recent years, the public discourse surrounding competency-based education has shifted from individual programs and institutions to the federal level. The U.S. Education Department in 2011 launched a series of experimental projects to encourage innovation in higher education, extending Pell Grants to some short-term vocational programs. Last year, it announced three additional pilots to support competency-based programs. And as recently as last week, the department announced another project that fosters partnerships between colleges and nontraditional education providers offering coding boot camps, MOOCs, short-term certificates, and other credentials.

The agency’s Experimental Sites Initiative allows participating colleges to experiment with competency-based education and prior learning assessment, granting them a waiver from certain rules that govern federal financial aid. As the experiments developed, the department realized that more guidance was needed for both colleges and accrediting agencies. The agency last month released an extensive reference guide for institutions participating in its pilot programs, but many questions still remain regarding best practices and developing quality competency-based models capable of scaling or spreading to affordably serve more students.