Fwd: Wake Up! Fresh Perspectives on Alternative Credentials

Interesting article.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eduventures <insights@eduventures.com>
Date: Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 4:07 AM
Subject: Wake Up! Fresh Perspectives on Alternative Credentials

[image: Wake up!]
*DECEMBER 22, 2015*

Fresh Perspectives on
Alternative Credentials

Will we look back on 2015 as the year when the market and policymakers got
serious about alternative credentials?

We all know the backstory. Steady globalization and automation have eaten
away at the economic status quo and driven U.S. higher education enrollment
up 40% in the last 15 years, more than double population growth. Yet return
on investment (ROI) is under unprecedented pressure. The U.S. is riding a
“perfect storm” of ballooning student debt, lackluster graduation rates,
and questionable graduate quality. Everyone seems to agree that more higher
education is central to the national strategy, but it is also clear that
the nation needs to rethink higher education if ROI is to pass muster.

One can question bits and pieces of the case. Sticker price may be soaring
but net price, what students actually pay, is more modest and stable. The
boom-and-bust of much of the for-profit school sector may mask underlying
continuity. The wage premium that comes with a degree has never been
higher, calming fears about student debt.

Still, it’s hard to feel good about these three data points:

   - *Graduation Rates.* According to the National Student Clearinghouse
   the six-year undergraduate completion rate is a mere 55%—and it’s
   declining. Lest we forget, an associate degree is supposed to take two
   years to complete, and a bachelor’s degree should take four years. The fact
   that barely half of students complete anything in six years should ring
   alarm bells.
   - *Employability.* In 2012, the OECD
   <http://www2.eduventures.com/e/11652/2015-12-22/3tw8gq/625864503> ran
   its first international survey of adult skills
   <http://www2.eduventures.com/e/11652/site-piaac-/3tw8gs/625864503>. Only
   8-16% of U.S. adults achieved literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving
   proficiency at a level judged to be equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, yet
   34% had such a degree. A sizeable gap was common in many countries. In the
   21st century, higher education needs to achieve quality at scale, not trade
   one for the other.
   - *Premium.* Yes, the degree wage premium is higher than ever, 95% for
   those with a bachelor’s degree and 136% for those with a master’s degree
   when compared to high school graduates. In constant dollars, though, the
   median wage for bachelor’s and master’s degrees has slowly eroded
   since the turn of the century. The fact that non-graduate wages have eroded
   faster does not alter the reality that degree ROI is not what it used to be.

Which institutions are doing a good job? It’s very hard to judge. Rankings
are input-driven, and accreditation is qualitative and employs a threshold
standard. Cause and effect in the higher learning enterprise looks
something like this:

[image: Cause and effect in higher education]
While inputs are reasonably well understood, outcomes are rudimentary. The
student experience—what turns inputs into outcomes—is a glorious maze of
academic autonomy and student choice. In 2016, watch for Eduventures’
new *Student
Experience Dashboard*, our effort to make sense of this complexity and
interrogate cause and effect more closely.

see how alternative credentials fit in by offering pathways to capability
and to learn about the two most interesting developments in 2015...

*For more information on this topic, please contact
<http://www2.eduventures.com/e/11652/h36V8y/3tw8gx/625864503> the author of
this week's Wake-Up Call, Eduventures Chief Research Officer Richard

101 Federal Street | Suite 1800
Boston, MA

<http://www2.eduventures.com/e/11652/eduventuresinc/3tw8gg/625864503> |
FACEBOOK <http://www2.eduventures.com/e/11652/Eduventures/3tw8gj/625864503> |

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Alexander Jackl
CEO & President, Bardic Systems, Inc.
P: 401.384.0566
F: 617.812.6020

Received on Tuesday, 22 December 2015 15:18:43 UTC