Imagine a place where students – who have attained at least an associate-level college degree – can reliably present “substantially error-free prose in both argumentative and narrative forms to general and specialized audiences.” Wow!
That’s the wonderful world we’ll inhabit if Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation achieves its goals. The foundation says that in order to keep America competitive in today’s global, knowledge-driven economy, we must boost the proportion of Americans holding high-quality degrees from today’s level of 38% to 60% by the year 2025.
To define what a student must be able to know and do to earn such a degree, the foundation last month proposed The Degree Qualifications Profile, specifying learning outcomes for associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees across five areas: broad, interpretive knowledge; specialized knowledge; intellectual skills; applied learning; and civic learning. “Intellectual skills” include:
- Analytic inquiry
- Use of information resources
- Engaging different perspectives
- Quantitative fluency
- Communication fluency (pp 12-14)
Communication fluency at the associate level is spelled out in my intro – and of course, expectations increase with educational attainment. Bachelor’s degree-holders would be able to construct “sustained, coherent arguments and / or narratives and / or explications of technical issues and processes, in two media, to general and specific audiences” (14). They’d also be able to identify and evaluate information resources, use and properly cite them, and describe the “ideal resource” for a particular purpose (12-13).
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that two higher education accreditation bodies and a private college association have agreed to test The Degree Qualifications Profile. Such testing will enable institutions to evaluate and improve their programs while giving Lumina the feedback it needs to further refine the framework. The foundation anticipates that the process will generate buzz about higher education quality – and in turn, build the “public will for change.” Now that’s a wonderful world in the making!
Inclusion of communication fluency is no surprise in a framework like this. But the extent to which the Profile also emphasizes information literacy skills reinforces what the happy owl has been hootin’ about: both are crucial to success – in high school, college, and beyond. Scholar’s Secret is here to help students hone those skills. Contact us anytime!