Pearson, Texas A&M University-Commerce and South Texas College partner to create competency-based learning degree

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and College for All Texans Foundation have partnered with Pearson to work with two state institutions Texas A&M University-Commerce and South Texas College  to create a competency-based learning Bachelor of Applied Sciences (BAS) degree in Organizational Leadership. The program is called the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Project (TAB) and is supported by an EDUCAUSE Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. EDUCAUSE partners in NGLC are the League for Innovation in the Community College, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and iNACOL. The program aligns with Governor Rick Perry’s vision to create more affordable, competency-based baccalaureate programs for students in Texas.

Faculty from both institutions are leading the curriculum design effort with Pearson assisting in the development of 90 credit hours of online competency-based courses, providing custom curriculum and instructional design that aligns with the competencies established by the faculty. The program will launch in spring 2014 and is expected to serve 250 students in its first year and enroll over 6,000 students by 2019.

The BAS in Organizational Leadership curriculum centers on the 21st century skills outlined by the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Liberal Education andAmerica’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. These skills include: Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World, Intellectual and Practical Skills, Personal and Social Responsibility, and Integrative and Applied Learning.

“We are pleased that these institutions have not only embraced innovation but are collaborating in ways that will greatly benefit students by giving them a new path to completion,” said Dr. Raymund Paredes, Texas Commissioner of Higher Education. “Pearson’s commitment to assist faculty from both institutions throughout this process is critical for the program’s ultimate success.”

“Pearson is dedicated to enriching people’s lives through education, and we do so by partnering with institutions and faculty to provide them with quality, results-driven educational services that improve academic and career achievement,” said David Daniels, President, Integrated Solutions, Pearson Education. “We are excited about the growing adoption of the innovative competency-based learning model, and its promise to significantly improve learning outcomes, accelerate degree completion and provide more practical skills for the workforce, all while reducing costs to students.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), the state agency that coordinates postsecondary education in Texas, is overseeing this initiative along with its non-profit organization,College for All Texans Foundation. Rather than focusing on student seat time, the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate project’s competency-based learning program shifts the focus to student mastery. This enables students to accelerate through the degree program by allowing them to receive credit upon evidence of competency mastery through faculty-approved assessments at the lower-division level. Additionally, students may receive appropriate academic credit through other pathways such as military credit and third-party assessment of prior learning. The project involves a unique collaboration between a university and a community college in the development and delivery of an affordable baccalaureate degree.

About Pearson

Pearson (NYSE:PSO) is the world’s leading learning company, providing educational materials and services and business information through the Financial Times Group. Pearson serves learners of all ages around the globe, employing 41,000 people in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.pearson.com.