This piece, published on Inside Higher Ed last week, talks about the Lumina Foundation’s efforts to use their finances as a lever to codify and standardize the goals and skill outcomes of the various degrees of the U.S., following a model developed and developing in Europe known as the Bologna model.
It includes a link to the Lumina Foundation’s “Draft of a Degree Qualifications Profile,” which is a wordy way of saying “proposed degree standards.”
The draft proposes outcomes for an Associates Degree, as well as Bachelors and Masters, identifying four categories of outcomes: Applied learning, knowledge, skills, and civic learning. I’ve excerpted the sections for the Associates degree below.
Applied learning includes: At the Associate’s level, the student
- describes in writing at least one substantial case in which knowledge and skills acquired in academic settings were applied to a challenge in a non-academic setting; evaluates, using evidence and examples, the learning gained from the application; and analyzes at least one significant concept or method related to the course of study in light of learning from outside of classroom.
- locates, gathers, and organizes evidence on an assigned topic addressing a question of practice in a work or community setting; offers and examines competing hypotheses in answering the question.
Knowledge includes: At the Associates level (if and only if a degree award of A.A.S., A.F.A., A.N., etc.; see Broad Integrative for A.A.,A.S., and A.G.S. recipients), the student
- describes the scope and principal features of his or her field of study, citing at least some of its core theories and practices, and offers a similar explication of at least one related field.
- identifies or illustrates contemporary terminology used in the field.
- generates substantially error-free products, reconstructions, data, etc. or juried exhibits or performances as appropriate to the field.
Broad Integrative Knowledge includes: At the Associate’s level, for each of the core areas studied, the student
- describes how existing knowledge or practice is advanced, tested, and revised.
- describes and examines a range of perspectives on key debates and their significance both within the field and in society.
- illustrates core concepts of the field while executing analytical, practical, and/or creative tasks.
- selects and applies recognized methods of the field in interpreting characteristic field-based problems.
- assembles evidence relevant to characteristic problems in the field, describes the significance of the evidence, and uses the evidence in analysis of these problems.
- Given a contemporary challenge or problem in science, the arts, society, human services, economic life or technology, describes the ways in which at least two disciplines define the challenge or problem, describes the nature and significance of the evidence those disciplines would bring to bear on the challenge or problem, and articulates the importance of the challenge.
Intellectual Skills include: A) Communication Fluency. At the Associate’s level, the student
- presents substantially error-free prose in both argumentative and narrative forms to general and specialized audiences.
B) Quantitative Fluency: At the Associate’s level, the student
- presents accurate calculations and symbolic operations, and explains how such calculations and operations are used in either his or her specific field of study or in interpreting social and economic trends.
C) Critical Inquiry: At the Associate’s level, the student
- identifies, categorizes, and distinguishes between elements of ideas, concepts, theories, and/or practical approaches to standard problems.
D) Use of Information Resources: At the Associate’s level, the student
- identifies, categorizes, and appropriately cites multiple information resources necessary to engage in a project, paper, or performance in his or her academic program.
E) Engaging Difference: At the Associate’s level, the student
- describes how knowledge from different cultural perspective would affect his or her interpretations of prominent problems in politics, the arts and/or global relations.
Civic Learning includes: At the Associate’s level, the student
- describes his or her own civic and cultural background, including its origins and development, assumptions, and predispositions.
- describes diverse positions, historical and contemporary, on selected democratic values or practices, and presents his or her own position on a specific problem where the value or practice is involved.
- takes an active role in a community context (work, service, co-curricular activities, etc.), and examines the civic issues encountered and the insights gained from the community experience.
What do you think of them? What would you change?