In the years ahead, accreditors expect that institutions will be able to provide evidence of initiatives taken to improve institutional and student success in terms of persistence and retention. At HLC, the revised Criteria and annual review of key indicators related to persistence and completion placed more emphasis on success.
To support institutions efforts, we are launching an Academy for Student Persistence and Completion in early 2015.
The multi-year experience will allow cohort groups of member institutions to focus on issues through a facilitated process with the opportunity to collaborate and communicate with other institutions and mentors. The Commission will collect and disseminate emerging practices as institutional initiatives are completed as part of our commitment to support the development of good practices.
Efforts to evaluate and document student learning becomes even more important as the method and measures for awarding credit continue to change. For years, students have been earning degrees based on the demonstration of certain previously defined competencies.
The programs were designed with course-based units that were assigned academic credit. Most times, the credits were use as an equivalency measure primarily in order to meet requirements for federal or state aid, and to provide a commonly understood student transcript.
The Commission recently approved four institutions to offer degrees via direct assessment. These institutions will be offering competency-based degrees and an equivalency between competencies and credit hours is not present. Student completion will be documented through a list of competencies that have been met instead of courses taken and passed.
The interaction between students, faculty, advisors, and peer reviewers will evolve. Much of the ongoing communication and evaluation will take place through technological environments and institutions needed to demonstrate that the infrastructure is up-to-date and sufficient to handle the changing environment.
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