Calbright College and CBE Lessons

CBE advocates would do well to back off on pure-play direct assessment

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The context is that Calbright has recently improved their enrollments, from 481 students in July 2021 to 3,240 in July 2023, based on the milestone report released just over a month ago. Beyond enrollment, Calbright has also launched 17 new programs to meet a state legislative milestone.

There are three aspects of this story that are worth looking into in terms of broader lessons for competency-based education (CBE) programs and the need for adaptation.

Outcomes, not just inputs

Still, the number of credentials awarded to students is “not even in the order of magnitude that they need to be producing at this stage,” said Hill.

“It’s better than it was before, I see some valuable learning that they’re doing as an organization,” said Hill. “But what I don’t see is them getting anywhere close to the level of productivity that makes sense for what they should be doing.”

The outcomes comment of mine is that 286 total certificates awarded in the past 3+ years is ridiculously low given the nearly $100 million already spent and given the short (could be completed in a few months) programs - we’re not talking 2+ year degrees here. Note below that this is a cumulative chart.

Mikhail Zinshteyn, writing at CalMatters in April, showed how all but one program cohort had completion rates of less than 10%.

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