Posted by: crudbasher | January 25, 2012

How Do You Certify Knowledge?

When nearly all learning was done in school, it was easier to certify what somebody knew. Today though, there are many other ways to learn. Unfortunately, our standard methods of certifying learning and knowledge misses most of this alternate learning.

This article talks about how companies are developing alternate certification methods that may help capture some of this missing learning. As I look at the higher education industry, I think developments of alternate certification techniques will be the biggest drivers of change and innovation. Here’s a previous post where I expound on why.

    • The announcement of agreements between Burck Smith’s StraighterLine and the Education Testing Service (ETS) and the Council on Aid to Education (CAE) to provide competency test materials to students online is potentially very important, along with several other recent developments.
    • College graduates typically have these positive attributes more than others, so degrees serve as an important signaling device to employers, lowering the costs of learning about the traits of the applicant. Because of the lack of good substitutes, colleges face little outside competition and can raise prices more, given their quasi-monopoly status.
    • As college costs rise, however, people are asking: Aren’t there cheaper ways of certifying competence and skills to employers? Employers like the current system, because the huge (often over $100,000) cost of demonstrating competency is borne by the student, not by them.
    • Through StraighterLine, a student spending a thousand bucks or so a year could get a large hunk, if not all, of a year of college-level learning if he or she applied herself. The biggest problem, as Burck told me, is that accreditation agencies refuse to accredit courses (they only accredit degrees), even though, arguably, a degree is simply a collection of courses. But the college-dominated accrediting agencies, seem to not want new forms of competition for existing schools.
    • Enter ETS and CAE. ETS has operated the famed SAT test for the College Board and owns and operates many other iconic tests, such as the TOEFL, GRE, and Praxis. Through affiliated organizations, it is big into employee testing. Via StraighterLine, students, for a modest fee, will be able to take the iSkills test that “measures the ability of a student to navigate and critically evaluate information from digital technology.”
    • Students can tell employers, “I did very well on the CLA and iSkills test, strong predictors of future positive work performance,” and, implicitly “you can hire me for less than you pay college graduates who score less well on these tests.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


  1. Sorry Gentelmen
    I am a perfectionest.
    I do not want to recognise any schools beyond 100-200 reputable schools in the USA. Rest does not provide me satisfactory knowledge and experience .
    A school has to have a wealth of knowledge, a treasure of knowledge to convey to its students . They are only 100 or so .

    I appreciate Straigtherline initiative. But if I have money and brain I would not go there.

    But now there is MITx
    Providing ONLINE courses to all FREE starting this Spring
    MITx will award a certificate of mastering the courses as well at a nominal fee
    That means

    That is great. Isn’t it ? Unbelieveble .
    Let us all support. Write to Obama , to Duncan to support.
    1 million letter to him helps the project .

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