New Brief: Examining Tools to Advance Degree Completion

Credit for Prior Learning and Competency-Based Education Promote Opportunity

For millions of Californians, typical pathways to degree attainment simply aren’t an option. Whether they balance work and family responsibilities, cannot afford a years-long program, or don’t need formal instruction on skills they already have, traditional “seat time–based” education alone just won’t work. Due to COVID-19 and the skyrocketing unemployment rates its accompanying recession generated, flexible and affordable routes to career success are more critical than ever.

During this time of disruption, colleges and universities have an opportunity to widen pathways for underserved students.

─Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez

Credit for prior learning (CPL) and competency-based education (CBE) are two approaches that can significantly boost degree completion while closing equity gaps. While each approach offers an alternative to traditional seat-time based classroom instruction, they are not interchangeable—and appreciating the distinction is key to implementing effective programs for the students that need them.

That’s why California Competes has released a new primer detailing the differences between each approach and underscoring how they both differ from traditional instruction programs.

“During this time of disruption, colleges and universities have an opportunity to widen pathways for underserved students. CPL and CBE are important tools to accelerate progress for those students who are most vulnerable to being left behind,” said California Competes Executive Director Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez.

To learn more, explore Side by Side: Comparing Credit for Prior Learning and Competency-Based Education.

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