First, let’s be clear that the so-called skills gap is not something new. It’s been brewing like a toxic stew for more than forty years. The term “skills gap” only barely describes what is really going on. Nearly everyone involved has had some role in creating and sustaining something that runs deeply in the culture of western society.
The often unrealistic expectations and dreams of many well-meaning people are at the center of a tragedy of the perceived skills gap. It is the unfortunate byproduct of hope – that most laudable of human traits.
As we explore the recipe for the current “skills gap stew” and job readiness consequences, we take firm aim on what we see as the best path forward to achieve job readiness in hope of inspiring the higher education industry as a whole and the stakeholders who drive it.
We look at several aspects of valid measurement of student learning outcomes that have been attended to and a few of those that remain to be addressed, keeping in mind that as the number of schools and programs doing rigorous scientific inquiry grows, so does the support network for those who are “not quite there yet”.
We have made significant inroads into helping faculty and administrators gain an understanding of some aspects of standards-based assessment. Four areas that have seen paradigm shifts toward valid scientific measurement are: inter-rater reliability, the use of assessor pools, irrelevant associations, and significance testing for learning growth.
We’ve come a long way in our journey toward the rigorous scientific measurement of student learning outcomes. Although we still have some way to go, when we started, we weren’t even sure we would get this far.
The Assessment Technology of the Future Exists Now, But Will Higher Education Leaders Champion It?
The future of higher education paired with technological advancements is a hot topic and has been theorized for many years, even highlighted in pop culture. You may be old enough to remember the 1986 movie, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In the film, there is a scene where an adult Spock is taking his final exam- a multimedia test from a Vulcan “teaching machine.”
Assessment technology can be leveraged to improve student learning by customizing highly individualized programs. Each student is led by the assessment technology and explores customized, adaptive learning journeys crafted to address both the curriculum outcomes and the way each student learns best. This is real, not science fiction.
A college portfolio is students’ best opportunity to show graduate schools, employers, and credentialing agencies what they know, how they will act and how they will address real-world problems. A robust academic portfolio can quickly provide confirmation that students have the knowledge and skills they claim. However, without forethought and guidance on choosing the right evidence, students may end up creating a worthless academic portfolio.
Here’s are ten tips for creating a killer college portfolio to make this a huge win for your students…
We could go on forever about the reasons students do not return to school, but let’s focus on what proactive institutions can do to improve their retention rate. Simply, engage students in all aspects of campus life. Recognize their accomplishments. Provide support for them academically. And most importantly, prepare them for the workforce.
Having joined the education vernacular in the 1960s, CBE (competency-based education), is experiencing a resurgence in interest and popularity. Attention on accountability in higher education, student learning outcomes and a related focus on outcomes-based assessment has brought new energy into the CBE movement. Other factors, including the rise of for-profit universities, the increasing numbers of non-traditional students, the desire to move students to degree completion more quickly and even the effort to provide a more transparent and personalized learning experience all contribute to this growing movement.
So, when it comes to competency-based education, what are the challenges and opportunities for higher education institutions to assess and achieve optimal student learning?