What if you could earn a degree as quickly or slowly as you can learn, regardless of whether you plodded through 80 hours in a classroom lecture?
That could be the next wave of higher education, as schools come under more pressure to cut costs while proving the value of expensive degrees and competing with the growing number of high-quality free online courses. Call it the decoupling of instruction and testing. — Co.Exist
"Competency-based education" is the radical new initiative where students pay institutions (pending admittance) a flat, per-semester rate to attend whichever college courses they like. Degrees are awarded when a student passes a "competency" test, regardless of how many units they took or how well they performed in class.
The University of Wisconsin, one of several institutions to develop this type of educational format, is set to launch its highly scrutinized "Flex-Option" pilot program this November. The program targets adults who have yet to acquire a bachelor degree, which could mean drastically altering the demographics of higher education, as well as grade-based degree systems. The model could also help turn the process of school-degree-job on its head, as students can overstep course-requirements by using work experience to pass department tests.
The experimental option only extends to a few bachelor programs, but will certainly expand if successful. Should this apply to architecture programs, well, unpaid internships are going to get far more contentious.