“Tuning” — clarifying what students should know and be able to do to earn a degree in a discipline — will help students succeed, writes Michelle Kalina on GOOD. Colleges in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Utah are participating in the Lumina Foundation‘s Tuning USA initiative, which is led by the Institute for Evidence-Based Change.
Texas has tuned four engineering disciplines and plans to tune additional engineering fields, two science majors, mathematics, business, and computer and information science.
Because two-thirds of high school graduates in Texas who pursue higher education start at one of the state’s community colleges, Texas also convened representatives from more than 50 institutions to improve the transfer process. Community-college students who want to pursue a baccalaureate degree in civil engineering receive detailed guidance on choosing courses and applying to transfer. Students are informed about the knowledge and skills they will acquire in each course and are provided information about career opportunities ranging from construction and aerospace to manufacturing and public works projects.
Similarly, in Kentucky, two- and four-year public and private colleges are working together to tune high-demand programs in biology, business, elementary education, nursing, and social work. In the state’s nursing programs, courses are being tuned to help pave the way for students to transfer from one program or college to another.
Tuning is based on Europe’s Bologna Process, which is “creating a great deal more transparency with respect to what, exactly, students who have earned credits from a given program or university have actually learned,” writes Education Sector’s Kevin Carey.