New credentials for OER?


NOTE: This post was originally shared to my Google+ stream as a part of an ongoing conversation. Head over there to comment.

I have been thinking about the ongoing conversation related to the $10K Bachelor’s degree that Myk Garn held at the SREB Technology Cooperative and Barry Dahl has continued on G+ over several posts. The higher ed value/cost proposition conversation is also going on in many other contexts.

One problem we have is the fixation on a bachelor’s degree. Universities are right to protect the meaning of a degree to include all of the associated experiences that people expect from college. I think this justified protectiveness is a part of the problem when we start talking about “cheap” degrees. Most everyone would agree that bachelor’s degree represents more than a simple assessment of skill level.

My question is this: we have a GED for high school. It does not imply that the person went through the whole high school experience but shows that they have certain, specific knowledge outcomes that might be expected of a high school graduate

What about a BDE? A BDE is a Bachelor’s Degree Equivalency assessment program that demonstrates an expected college knowledge competency level without implying the rest of the college experience. Such programs might open doors for adults, AND protect the significance of earning a bachelor’s degree.

Perhaps the BDE is combined with other micro-certifications or industry-specific credentials to help people show they have a baseline technical knowledge level and also have the general ability to write, think critically, etc. at a college level.

To be successful I think a BDE would have to be:
Valid and reliable (no small task)
Extremely inexpensive
Accessible
Delivered by reputable organizations/universities
Accepted by employers (this would take time to happen – just like the GED)
Transparent in every way it is designed (both to those taking the assessment and employers)

Are there states/institutions with similar programs today? Would this concept make a difference in the ongoing conversation? Interested in Friday out-of-the-box thought…

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