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Chris Murray, Aaron Lacey to author paper on competency-based education

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Christopher Murray Aaron Lacey

Published on: 06/17/2014

Competency-based education is about the development of real skills, not just time logged in a classroom. This important new education approach has been deployed at elementary, secondary, and postsecondary settings around the country. But the U.S. regulatory framework has yet to catch up.

To measure the current regulatory landscape and suggest improvements, Thompson Coburn higher education partners Chris Murray and Aaron Lacey will team with the American Enterprise Institute for an upcoming paper. AEI is a leading think tank in Washington, D.C., particularly in its leadership of critical education policy issues.

Rather than focusing on a student’s time seated in a classroom, competency-based education evaluates and encourages the mastery of individual skills that act as building blocks for the completion of a program. Some of the country’s leading education innovators have relied on it to improve educational attainment and lower costs. Institutions such as Western Governors University, Lipscomb University, and Capella University have explored or adopted competency-based models.

Chris and Aaron’s paper will explore the current regulatory and policy framework and examine how that framework has responded to this completely different learning model. Ultimately, the paper will urge the various and disparate higher education regulators to harmonize their treatment of competency-based education. AEI will host a public event to release the full publication later this year, at which Chris and Aaron will present their final piece.

About Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education Group


Thompson Coburn’s higher education practice features a core group of attorneys with extensive experience managing regulatory, policy, and lobbying matters for postsecondary institutions. These industry attorneys work in concert with other members of the firm to offer our postsecondary clients insightful, creative, and efficient legal counsel across a broad range of matters.