University of Wisconsin Flexible Option Resources
- Authentic Assessment of Broad Learning Skills Within Competency-Based Education: Recommendations from a Pilot Study with the UW Flexible Option Program, May 2017
- Student Success and Retention Using New Definition Created for Non-Term, Direct Assessment CBE, Journal of Competency-Based Education, February 2017
- Handbook of Research on Competency-Based Education in University Settings, Chapter 14, Measuring What Matters: The UW Flexible Option’s Framework to Measure Success from the Student Vantage Point, October 2016
- The University of Wisconsin Flexible Option (Part One): A Competency-Based Approach to Educational Attainment for Adult Students, Adult College Completion Network, March 2014.
- The University of Wisconsin Flexible Option (Part Two): The Nuts and Bolts of Developing and Delivering the Flex Curricula, Adult College Completion Network, May 2014.
- CBE Info Course Demos webinar, by Western Governors University, featuring Ryan Anderson, director of instructional design and development for UW-Extension, on the project-based Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, November 2016.
- UW Flexible Option, Student-oriented website.
- University of Wisconsin System Administration, Lumina Grant on the UW Flexible Option website.
Other Competency-Based Education Resources
CBE supporting websites
- American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), Comprehensive student record project – “In partnership with NASPA and funded by Lumina, this year-long project will result in a diverse set of models for use by institutions who wish to implement a comprehensive student record.”
- American College of Education (ACE), “With a range of master’s and advanced degree programs and subject-area graduate credit certificates, American College of Education equips teachers and other professionals with practical tools and strategies to apply better leadership, stronger curriculum, and new technology to add value to their school, work, and learning communities.”
- Blackboard Resources: What you need to know in CBE, “What’s new in competency-based education.”
- CBE info: Competency-Based Education, “The CBEinfo.org website relies on real-world experiences at several community colleges over the past couple of years. It is a glimpse into what is working and some of the lessons they have learned as they launched their CBE programs.”
- Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), A National Consortium for Designing, Developing and Scaling New Models for Student Learning
- The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL): Linking Learning and Work, CAEL is a nonprofit that “strives to lead the evolving national discussion on unique challenges and opportunities linking adult learners and work.”
- Educause is a nonprofit association and community of IT professionals in higher education.
- HigherEd.org provides a curated list of CBE-related materials by category.
- Journal of Competency-Based Education by Western Governors University, News brief on the release of the journal.
- Lumina Foundation, “The nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing Americans’ success in higher education.”
- Strategy Labs: State Policy to Increase Higher Education Attainment (sponsored by Lumina Foundation).
- University Professional and Continuing Education (UPCEA), Association for professional, continuing, and online education.
- WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies), A division of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).
- WCET Competency-Based Education Resources, WCET and external resources.
Department of Education
- Education Department Proposes Rule on State Authorization of Post-secondary Distance Education, Foreign Locations, July 2016; “The U.S. Department of Education today proposed regulations that seek to improve oversight and protect more than 5.5 million distance education students at degree-granting institutions, including nearly 3 million exclusively online students by clarifying the state authorization requirements for post-secondary distance education.”
- 2015 Federal Student Aid Training Conference, The U.S. Department of Education office of Federal Student Aid provides training for financial aid professionals on Competency-Based and Direct Assessment Programs.
- U.S. Department of Education “Dear Colleague Letter:” Competency-Based Education Programs- Questions and Answers, December 19, 2014; Letter from U.S. Department of Education in question and answer format providing guidance to institutions regarding the eligibility of CBE programs for financial aid.
- U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General audit report on direct assessment programs, processes for identifying risks and evaluating applications for Title IV, September 30, 2014; Audit objectives were to determine whether the Department of Education addressed the risks that institutions offering direct assessment programs pose to Title IV of the HEA and that only programs meeting federal requirements are approved as Title IV eligible. The audit found the Department did not adequately address risks and did not establish sufficient processes.
- Advancing CBE Demonstration Act of 2014, July 2014; “Amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to direct the Secretary of Education to select up to 30 institutions of higher education (IHEs) or systems or consortia of IHEs to: (1) carry out, on a voluntary basis, competency-based education demonstration projects; and (2) receive waivers of certain statutory and regulatory requirements that would otherwise prevent such an entity from participating in federal student aid programs or inhibit the operation of competency-based education.”
- U.S. Department of Education Expands Innovation in Higher Education through the Experimental Sites Initiative, July 2014; The Department announced a new round of “experimental sites” (ex-sites) that will test certain innovative practices aimed at providing better, faster and more flexible paths to academic and career success. UW was selected as one of these sites.
- U.S. Department of Education “Dear Colleague Letter:” Experimental Sites Initiative-Solicitation of Ideas, December 4, 2013; “The purpose of this letter is to solicit ideas for experiments to test alternative approaches for the administration of the federal student financial assistance programs as a part of the Department of Education’s ongoing Experimental Sites Initiative. For this set of experiments, the Secretary seeks suggestions for creative experiments to test innovations that have the potential to increase quality and reduce costs in higher education. While the experiments will be implemented at a limited number of postsecondary educational institutions, we invite any individual or organization to submit ideas and suggestions for experiments that would improve the Federal student aid programs”.
- U.S. Department of Education “Dear Colleague Letter:” Applying for Title IV Eligibility for Direct Assessment (Competency-Based) Programs, March 19, 2013; This letter provides guidance to institutions that wish to have direct assessment (competency-based) programs considered for Title IV, Higher Education Act (HEA) program eligibility. The letter outlines how institutions can have competency-based programs approved under the current regulations on direct assessment programs.
- U.S. Department of Education Interim Final Regulations Resulting from the HERA: Federal Student Aid Programs, 2006; The Secretary is amending the Federal Student Aid Program regulations to implement the changes to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), resulting from the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (HERA), and other recently enacted legislation. These interim final regulations reflect the provisions of the HERA that affect students, borrowers and program participants in the Federal student aid programs authorized under Title IV of the HEA. Significant changes include distinguishing between a correspondence course and a course offered through telecommunications. Telecommunications course definition was revised to mean a course that uses one or a combination of technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between these students and the instructor.
- Student Financial Assistance and Nontraditional Educational Programs (Including the “12-Hour Rule”), 2001; The conference report on the Department of Education Appropriations Act, 2001, requested the Department report to Congress on the results of its discussions with the higher education community and on what action, if any, the Department anticipates taking on the 12-hour rule. The Department of Education made modifications that resulted in replacing the “12-hour rule” for non-standard and non-term program structures with the “one-day rule” and adding a requirement that a calendar time element must be met before subsequent disbursement of Title IV funds could be made. These changes limited institutions in the area of distance learning, based in part, on the experiences gained from the demonstration program.
- Distance Education Demonstration Program Reports to Congress, 2001, 2003, 2005; Required in the 1998 Amendments to the HEA of 1965 for the Distance Education Demonstration Program. Three reports were prepared in 2001, 2003, 2005.
- U.S. Department of Education Distance Education Demonstration Program, 1998; Under the Distance Education Demonstration Program, selected institutions providing distance education programs may receive waivers of specific statutory and regulatory provisions governing the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of HEA. This demonstration program allowed Western Governors University and 14 other institutions/systems/consortia to enroll students by exempting them from a requirement that institutions educate at least half of their students in on-ground classes. The Secretary of the Department of Education was authorized to select 15 participants for the first year of the program (selected in May 1999) and began participation on July 1, 1999.
- Legislation creating the Distance Education Demonstration Programs, 1998; The program legislation authorized the Secretary of the Department of Education to waive specified statutory and regulatory requirements for up to 15 participants selected in the first year of the program, which began on July 1, 1999. Additional participants were selected to join the program in its third year, beginning July 1, 2001 and again in December 1, 2003. One participant was removed from the program and five, including two large state systems, have discontinued their participation. A total of 30 participants (over 100 individual institutions) have been involved in the program since 1999. The program was set to expire in 2006 (in part because of concerns that it had enabled explosive growth in online education among for-profit colleges).
- U.S. Department of Education “Dear Colleague Letter”: Provides information regarding the eligibility of students enrolled in courses offered through distance education to receive financial assistance from the programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), May 1, 1998; (Also see Department of Education reauthorization proposals.)
- An Evolving Technology Landscape for Competency-Based Education, Educause Review, Mark Leuba, February 2016.
- American Enterprise Institute (AEI) – AEI series on competency-based higher education
- The landscape of competency-based education: Enrollments, demographics, and affordability
- Measuring mastery: Best practices for assessment in competency-based education
- Employer perspectives on competency-based education
- Rethinking the regulatory environment of competency-based education
- The student experience: How competency-based education providers serve students
- Innovate and Evaluate: Expanding the Research Base for Competency-based education
- College credit? Kill that, Op-Ed CNN, Amy Laitinen, March 2015.
- Flexible Option: A Direct-Assessment CBE Model, Educause Review, Aaron Brower, November 2014.
- Tugged in Two Directions, Inside Higher Ed, Paul Fain, September 2014.
- Competency as One Answer, Inside Higher Ed, David Schejbal, March 2014.
- Competency-Based Education Goes Mainstream in Wisconsin, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott Carlson, September 2013.
- College Degree, No Class Time Required: University of Wisconsin to Offer a Bachelor’s to Students Who Take Online Competency Tests About What They Know, Caroline Porter, The Wall Street Journal, January 2013.
- Who Says Higher Education Can’t Be Agile: The University of Wisconsin System’s Flexible Option, Kevin Reilly, Aaron Brower, Rebecca Karoff, 2013.
- Cracking the Credit Hour, Amy Laitinen, New America, September 2012.
Regional Accreditation Sites
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, January 2015
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, April 2013
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, September 2013
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) , Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, September 2015
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, January 2014