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Missouri Selected for Competency-Based Program

Posted: Apr 18, 2014 6:54 PM by Vilma Obando, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Apr 19, 2014 10:36 AM

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COLUMBIA - Missouri college students will soon be able to reduce the time required to earn their degree.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and the Missouri Community College Association were selected on Friday by the Council of Adult Experiential Learning to start a competency-based education jump-start program. The program aims to increase completion rates at two and four-year colleges and universities throughout the state. The program will teach students the necessary skills and knowledge required in their chosen career.

The Department said the structure of the program creates flexibility and allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of the academic material, regardless of time, place or pace of learning. By enabling students to master skills at their own pace, competency-based learning programs help save both time and money.

Columbia College interim president, Terry Smith, said the program is the next step at improving higher education.

"This is something that will really make a big difference in higher education and I'm just delighted that Missouri applied for and got this grant because hopefully a bunch of us can get together and do some really important stuff for learners not just in Missouri but if you got an online program, anywhere," Smith said.

Smith added, teaching students how to master different skill sets like computer literacy will open many windows for students after graduation.

"A program like this gives many individuals the opportunity to learn skills that are now required of many people when they are entering the work place," Smith said.

Currently, students participating in two programs at Missouri community colleges - MoHealthWINs and MoManufacturingWINS - can earn college credit through competency-based education and credit for prior learning. The Jumpstart Program will provide further support for the MoWINs programs, which offer low-cost training for high demand health care and manufacturing industries.

The Jumpstart Program will provide training for faculty and staff. The work includes the development of new ways to assess student learning at the college level. The training starts this fall.

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