Ed Dept. 'not wedded' to its proposed accreditation rules

Educationdive | January 30, 2019

The Education Department is "not wedded" to the language it issued in proposed regulations being debated in an ongoing negotiated rulemaking process, Diane Auer Jones, the department's principal deputy under secretary, told an audience of accreditation professionals in Washington on Tuesday. "Clearly we came to the table with some very provocative ideas," she said at the annual meeting of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). "We just wanted to open the conversation." One area where Jones said she has heard "consternation" from stakeholders is around the definition of regional and national accreditors. The department has proposed a three-to-10 state range for regional accreditors, which has caused some pushback. (Regional accreditation often is seen as more reliable than national accreditation and means student credits transfer more easily.) Jones said the department is not committed to the definition it proposed but rather was exploring whether accreditors would be better defined by mission as opposed to geography, as they are currently."We are not suggesting any of the regional accreditors should change their footprint, at all," she added. Jones similarly said the department expects to maintain a definition of the credit hour, though it removed the Obama-era definition in its proposals. In its proposal, the department said it is "interested in feedback about how to create standards or guidelines that ensure quality, protect taxpayers, and do not limit innovation." The final regulations could end up including multiple credit hour definitions to reflect the variety of educational models, such as competency-based education, Jones said.

Spotlight

We are now in the Experience Age – where 92% of teens are online daily, playing games, livestreaming memorable experiences, sharing ephemeral moments on Snapchat, or posting pictures of exciting daily occurrences on Instagram (Wadhera, 2016). Both informal and formal learning, as a result, have shifted again: from an Industrial Revolution model of education, where a teacher transmitted information to students via a ‘one size fits all’ mentality; to an Information Age model, in which access to and accumulation of information was the highest priority.

Spotlight

We are now in the Experience Age – where 92% of teens are online daily, playing games, livestreaming memorable experiences, sharing ephemeral moments on Snapchat, or posting pictures of exciting daily occurrences on Instagram (Wadhera, 2016). Both informal and formal learning, as a result, have shifted again: from an Industrial Revolution model of education, where a teacher transmitted information to students via a ‘one size fits all’ mentality; to an Information Age model, in which access to and accumulation of information was the highest priority.

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