All-You-Can-Learn—For One Flat Fee—U: But To Go Slower, Not Faster

On November 18, admissions opened for the University of Wisconsin system’s new “Flexible Option.” The beautifully crafted web site tells prospective students that they will be able to, “earn credit for what you know,” “advance at your own pace,” and “start when you want, at the beginning of any month and that they can choose the “All-You-Can-Learn Option …[which] allows you to master as many competency (skill) sets and pass as many assessments as you can within a three-month period for a flat tuition rate of $2,250.” Welcome to the brave new world of Competency Based Education (CBE).

Quick Rorschach test: Are you rolling your eyes with snark? Groaning with dread? Or is your heart beating faster and your face flushing with wide-eyed wonder? Continue reading

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Developing the Obama Administration’s College Ratings System: Tower of Babel?

While the price of college has been rising almost as fast as health insurance, graduation rates have stagnated. The Obama administration has responded with a new higher education plan, based on developing a new ratings system for colleges, to be ready before the 2015 school year.  The hope is to unleash market forces on the cosseted ivory tower: students (and families) will shop around for better quality and lower cost, driving the colleges to greater efficiency and quality.

Good luck getting agreement on a ratings system. Different students want different things from higher education. And government should only be supporting some of those things. Continue reading