- A new study from the American Institutes for Research outlines the profile of students in competency-based education programs and how they are engaged to participate in the curriculum. But researchers say it is too early to determine the efficacy of such programs on postgraduate success.
- The study reveals that 68% of CBE programs are comprised of adult learners, with more than 70% of participants having previous college experience. Retention rates in the programs range from 63-80%, while completion rates range between 15-80%, depending on the type of program.
- With challenges in schedule flexibility and technology to track student performance, CBE still presents as a valuable learning environment, but there is not enough data to suggest that graduates fare better in professional placement or earnings as a result.
It is difficult for college executives to dedicate a large percentage of resources to a learning program which, while seemingly valuable to adult and continuing learners, does not provide insight on how quickly students will complete, or how successful they will be upon graduation in the job market. We do know that flexibility is a major factor for a growing number of students, and this bodes well for considering CBE as a learning module.
For campuses considering this framework, faculty must work closely with students to develop schedules and adaptive learning systems which can effectively support a variety of students with a variety of challenges in work and personal life. Additionally, it requires IT personnel to investigate and to work with faculty in creating grading systems which account for content completion on varying tracks for different students.