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One of the more intriguing innovations picking up steam in higher education circles is competency-based education (CBE). One of the most important challenges facing striving students in the postsecondary world involves transfer policy and practice. One segment of higher education that is definitely growing is the post-traditional learner. And one of the more powerful strategies to help try, test, and tune innovations, policy, and practice of all kinds is the use of advanced analytics. Put all of these together and you’ll find exactly what the leaders at Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMU-C) brought together and shared in their most recent Educause Review article. This thoughtful piece—Competency-Based Education and Predictive Analytics: Learning from Transfers—is well worth the read if you’re interested in any one of these things, even more so if the combination seems compelling. Authors Carlos Rivers and Judith Sebesta provide an intriguing look into how TAMU-C is innovating with CBE to tackle transfer challenges, with a special focus on post-traditional students. My favorite part of this article is that it is a prime example of the promise of student success science. My Civitas Learning Co-Founder, Charles Thornburgh, and I have been talking about the promise of this move for some time. As educators begin to use the full capacity of an analytically-fueled Student Success Platform to power their policy and practice innovation, not to mention apps to students, faculty, and advisors, we can begin to see the true power of a deeply connected learning network. Innovation with greater precision will begin to flourish, with an increased focus on the innovation that significantly improves an institution’s ability to help students learn well and finish strong. There are many more examples to come in the weeks, months, and years ahead! However, the best part of this movement is that while the analytics are important, the conversation is rightly focused on students and the impact of innovations. The analytics become an engine powering, accelerating, and guiding innovation, not the focus of the conversation. This is when the real action starts!
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