Presenters

Lumina Foundation

Location

University of Nevada Las Vegas, Greenspun Hall

Start Date

14-3-2011 4:30 PM

End Date

14-3-2011 4:30 PM

Description

The need for a Degree Profile

Higher learning has taken on new importance in today’s knowledge society. To succeed in the contemporary workplace, today’s students must prepare for jobs that are rapidly changing, use technologies that are still emerging and work with colleagues from (and often in) all parts of the globe. The challenges that graduates face as citizens during their lives are similarly complex and also are affected by developments around the world.

Recognizing the economic and societal importance of higher levels of learning, national leaders, policymakers, analysts and major philanthropies have called for a dramatic increase in the number of high-quality degrees awarded in the United States. But the press toward helping many more students earn degrees has not been grounded in any consistent public understanding of what these degrees ought to mean. Even as colleges and universities have defined their own expected student learning outcomes — typically to meet accreditation requirements — their discussions have been largely invisible to policy leaders, the public and many students. Similarly, while higher education institutions have been under increasing pressure to be accountable for the quality of their degrees, institutions have frequently responded by testing samples of students in ways that say too little about learning and even less about what all students should attain as they progress through college.

The Degree Profile responds to these concerns by describing concretely what is meant by each of the degrees addressed. Though clarity is certainly the goal, this effort is in no way an attempt to standardize degrees. Nor does the Degree Profile define what should be taught or how instructors should teach it. Instead, the Degree Profile describes student performance appropriate for each degree level through clear reference points that indicate the incremental and cumulative nature of learning. Focusing on conceptual knowledge and essential competencies and their applications, the Degree Profile illustrates how students should be expected to perform at progressively more challenging levels. Students’ demonstrated achievement in performing at these ascending levels creates the grounds on which degrees are awarded.

Keywords

Degrees; Academic; Education – Standards; Universities and colleges — Curricula; Universities and colleges — Graduation requirements

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Education Policy | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

Language

English

Comments

Supplemental material

 
Mar 14th, 4:30 PM Mar 14th, 4:30 PM

The Degree qualifications profile

University of Nevada Las Vegas, Greenspun Hall

The need for a Degree Profile

Higher learning has taken on new importance in today’s knowledge society. To succeed in the contemporary workplace, today’s students must prepare for jobs that are rapidly changing, use technologies that are still emerging and work with colleagues from (and often in) all parts of the globe. The challenges that graduates face as citizens during their lives are similarly complex and also are affected by developments around the world.

Recognizing the economic and societal importance of higher levels of learning, national leaders, policymakers, analysts and major philanthropies have called for a dramatic increase in the number of high-quality degrees awarded in the United States. But the press toward helping many more students earn degrees has not been grounded in any consistent public understanding of what these degrees ought to mean. Even as colleges and universities have defined their own expected student learning outcomes — typically to meet accreditation requirements — their discussions have been largely invisible to policy leaders, the public and many students. Similarly, while higher education institutions have been under increasing pressure to be accountable for the quality of their degrees, institutions have frequently responded by testing samples of students in ways that say too little about learning and even less about what all students should attain as they progress through college.

The Degree Profile responds to these concerns by describing concretely what is meant by each of the degrees addressed. Though clarity is certainly the goal, this effort is in no way an attempt to standardize degrees. Nor does the Degree Profile define what should be taught or how instructors should teach it. Instead, the Degree Profile describes student performance appropriate for each degree level through clear reference points that indicate the incremental and cumulative nature of learning. Focusing on conceptual knowledge and essential competencies and their applications, the Degree Profile illustrates how students should be expected to perform at progressively more challenging levels. Students’ demonstrated achievement in performing at these ascending levels creates the grounds on which degrees are awarded.