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Promising Program Ventures: A Review of Recent Developments Regarding the External Degree

Valley, John R.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Competency Based Education, Educational Assessment, Equivalency Tests, External Degree Programs, Lifelong Learning, Nontraditional Students


In analyzing past and present conditions of external degree programs, it is apparent there is emerging support for lifelong learning. There has been an increase of American interest in the external degree program, particularly during 1970. There are five external degree-related developments which contribute to increasing lifelong learning opportunities: (1) the extension of degree granting authority, (2) the geographic extension of institutional operations, (3) the use of the community as an educational resource, (4) the stimulation of external degree programs for facilitative and supportive services, and (5) the observations and recommendations reflecting professional opinions. Competence has become the organizing basis for degree programs. If external degree programs encourage learning outside traditional patterns of residential study, such programs increase the need for techniques and services for assessing learning whenever or wherever it may have occurred. The major approaches receiving attention are credit by examination, course evaluations, individual assessment, and validation model external degree programs. There are problems in the programs which require resolution, however, before the "Learning Society" becomes a reality. (A 32-item bibliography is included.)

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