Going Back to College and the Competency-Based Model Part 5

9 - You take exams according to an instructor-lead schedule.

With online college courses, your schedule is your own. You can take self-paced online college courses wherever and whenever you want, and that includes tests, too.

With a competency-based model of education, your learning pace dictates your testing schedule and graduation timetable. Once you pass an assessment that proves your mastery of a subject area, you can move on.

10 - Classes end when the semester ends.

With a competency-based model of education, semesters never end. In fact, there are no set semesters. You continue to learn until you’ve mastered a subject area sufficiently to earn your degree. You may be billed on a regular basis (monthly, twice-a-year, etc.), but the learning isn’t based on time, it’s based on competency attainment. The speed at which you complete required courses or competencies is completely up to you.

11 - Repeat the process (3-10) again the next semester and the next and the next.

Taking part in a competency-based model of education allows you to learn continuously.  It allows you to learn quantifiable, cumulative skills and knowledge. A competency-based model of education, however, won’t dictate how many hours and classes you need to sit through in order to gain mastery. The learning time is up to you.

A competency-based model of education honors all paths to knowledge. A competency-based model won’t require you to repeat a process for the sake of a process – it’s all about subject matter mastery. It’s about continual assessment and standardized competency.

12 - You earn your right to graduate with your college degree through the accumulation of credit hours.

With a competency-based degree, you graduate when you have mastered all the skills and knowledge required for that degree. Credit hours mean nothing if you haven’t mastered the required subject matter.

13 - You look for a job.

A competency-based degree means something concrete. Employers value accountability and competency. You have something of value to offer and discuss with employers.

14 - You begin paying back student loans whether or not you have a job.

If you’ve accelerated your path towards earning your college degree through a competency-based education, there’s a good change you’ve had to rely very little on student loans. In fact, if you’ve taken advantage of StraighterLine’s Freshman Year of College plan for $999 and coupled that with a few prior learning assessments, there’s a chance you haven’t even had to apply for financial aid until a couple years into your college degree program. This means a savings of many thousands of dollars!

15 - You think to yourself, what a wonderful world...

A competency-based education model offers adults the best of all possible worlds when it comes to earning a college degree. It allows an experienced individual to prove what they already know and thereby accelerate their journey towards a college degree. A competency-based model of education values subject matter mastery without the traditional emphasis on the “how” of obtaining that knowledge. It allows adults the flexibility they require, and offers them access to low cost alternatives to the traditional college path. A competency-based education model, in other words, allows an adult to be an adult.