A young man stands in an auto shop, surrounded by machines and tools.

When Skills, Not Seat Time Earn College Degrees

Adam Echelman of CalMatters shares insights after reporting on competency-based education in California. The experimental education model allows community colleges to evaluate students for degrees based on successfully demonstrating skills, not time spent in class. (EWA Radio 331)

Photo credit: Larry Valenzuela, CalMatters/CatchLight Local (Wisconsin college student Brandon McCulley)

What if you could earn a college degree by demonstrating your mastery of a specific set of skills, rather than completing a minimum number of hours instructional seat time? 

That’s the premise behind a massive experiment underway in California’s community colleges. EWA Reporting Fellow Adam Echelman of CalMatters shares insights from his close look at the promise – and potential perils – of “competency based education.” 

Who are the students most likely to enroll in these programs? What’s known about the quality of their experience and their long-term outcomes? Why are some faculty pushing back while others are embracing the experiment?

EWA Radio is sponsored by SXSW EDU. EWA retains full editorial control over the content of the podcast.

Subscribe to the EWA Radio Podcast

Find us on  iHeartRadioiTunesGoogle PodcastsGoogle Play MusicPocket CastsRadio.com (app only)SpotifyStitcher,  or through the RSS feed.