CBE remains more popular with older students — but K-12 trends could change that
- A report recently published in the Journal of Competency-Based Education shows CBE programs remain popular among older, "nontraditional" students who already have work experience, with just 10% of undergrads at CBE institutions under the age of 25.
- The model, however, is also seen as a potential means of reducing costs for students across the board, eCampus News reports.
- The research also showed that an overwhelming majority — 65% — of students enrolled in CBE programs are white, and an average of 55% at standalone CBE schools were women, though diversity varied more on individual school levels among the nine institutions studied.
Competency-based programs have become increasingly popular in higher ed for more efficiently getting students with relevant work and life experience across the finish line to a degree. But trends in K-12 could see them become the norm for a larger and more "traditional" swath of higher ed students.
New Hampshire has been making a concentrated push toward CBE across all of K-12 over the past 20 years, beginning with its high schools. The New Hampshire Department of Education's "Work-Study Practices," which focus on developing positive work ethic behaviors, have served as a basis for rubrics in districts that have abandoned letter-based grades, and they're also the basis for a pilot exam in the state's Sanborn Regional School District.
And in Illinois, 10 districts including Chicago are piloting a CBE model that would also measure skill mastery over class time, measuring cooperation, self-awareness and decision-making skills alongside academics on a proficiency rubric.
But while CBE programs in higher ed are currently often seen as cheaper than their traditional counterparts, it's worth considering whether increasing financial aid ability and a larger student base could see the same pricing concerns manifest.
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