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ERIC Number: ED547414
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
Customized, Outcome-Based, Relevant Evaluation (CORE) at Lipscomb University: A Competency-Based Education Case Study
Klein-Collins, Rebecca; Olson, Rick
Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in competency-based degree programs at the postsecondary level. These programs are promising for the future of higher education because they establish clear expectations for what graduates must know and be able to do, and many models have been designed to allow students to learn and earn a degree at their own pace. The emphasis on learning acquired rather than seat time is particularly important for adult and non-traditional learners who bring learning from their work and life experiences to higher education. Competency-based models allow students to build on what they already know to obtain a post-secondary credential. In response to the shifting educational needs of the nation in general and Tennessee in particular, Lipscomb University began its first specialized adult program in 1990 in order to offer working adults without degrees flexibility in their educational options. Over the course of the next 15 years, the Adult Degree Program met with varying levels of success, but it has been growing steadily since the mid-2000s when economic factors and the new GI Bill encouraged many adults to return to seek their degrees. Lipscomb's stated commitment to non-traditional students, along with increased national and statewide focus on providing easier and more affordable access to higher education, led to the 2011 formation of the College of Professional Studies, meant to provide "innovative, market driven and customizable programs primarily for adult students" (Long & Clark, 2013, pp. 120-121). It was through this newly founded college that Lipscomb's brand of competency-based education (CBE) was first formed, with the purpose of recognizing that certain students bring a "pre-existing set of college-level competencies, knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired through out-of-class learning experiences" (CORE for individual students, 2014). The new CBE program is called the Customized, Outcome-based, Relevant Evaluation (CORE), which is a CBE model that integrates the use of behavioral assessment, online competency development modules, faculty coaching, and traditional coursework that leads to a bachelor's degree. Students in the CORE program can potentially earn up to 30 credit hours through competency-based assessment, which can save them up to $11,770 (36%) off the total price of tuition. This presents the first of what will be a series of case studies of competency-based degree programs that have been emerging in recent years.
Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. 55 East Monroe Street Suite 1930, Chicago, IL 60603. Tel: 312-499-2600; Fax: 312-499-2601; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee