New competency-based M.S. in Early Childhood Studies program uses direct assessment model

competency-basedWalden University is introducing a new self-paced educational experience to help students customize their learning.

Offered through Tempo Learning, the initial program is the new competency-based M.S. in Early Childhood Studies with a specialization in Administration, Management and Leadership.

Through Tempo Learning at Walden, students can progress at their own pace by applying their existing knowledge and prior experience while focusing on the skills they need to meet the demands of the workforce. Tempo Learning is composed of competencies and rigorous assessments that have been designed by faculty and validated by employers—creating a direct link between education and the workplace.

“For 45 years, Walden has been committed to effecting positive social change and enabling working professionals to continue their employment while they earn their degree,” said Jonathan A. Kaplan, interim president of Walden. “By offering Tempo Learning, we are providing our students with the opportunity to accelerate their application of skills and knowledge to help their organizations and communities thrive.”

(Next page: How students will progress with the competency-based system)

Tempo Learning allows students to:
• Subscribe for three months at a time and learn as much they want, accelerating their degree completion time and reducing tuition costs.
• Leverage prior learning and experience to quickly complete assessments.
• Master skills that are closely aligned with employers’ needs—skills that are critical for long-term career success.

With mobile-enabled features such as Plan/Map/Track and Raise My Hand, progress is within reach for students. Plan/Map/Track is an at-a-glance view of students’ progress that shows what they’ve completed, what’s coming next and the fastest path to degree completion. Raise My Hand allows students to quickly get help from faculty and other learners in their program.

“As someone who has worked in both early childhood education and higher education, I have personally been very excited by the movement to explore competency-based learning programs,” said Stephanie A. Morris, deputy executive director for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). “There is a critical need for more early childhood leaders who help care for and develop the children of our future. Such programs can open doors, potentially allowing early childhood educators opportunities to accelerate their education and earn advanced degrees for the greatest impact in our communities.”

The M.S. in Early Childhood Studies program leverages Walden’s focus on effecting positive social change and its experience in improving educator effectiveness in an accelerated model where students gain the knowledge, abilities and leadership skills to prepare for existing and emerging roles both in and out of the classroom. The areas of expertise covered include child development, effective practices, cultural responsiveness, leadership and professionalism, managing early childhood programs, research, communication and collaboration.

To learn more about Tempo Learning and the competency-based M.S. in Early Childhood Studies program, visit

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura

Add your opinion to the discussion.