Both MnSCU and the University of Minnesota released for stakeholder comment draft frameworks for “Tested Experience” for the new guidelines on those teaching concurrent enrollments classes to high school students. High school teachers, principals and counselors are encouraged to review and provide feedback on these drafts to MnSCU and the U.
MnSCU has scheduled three webinars to collect feedback and set a deadline of May 27 to receive any comments. The webinars will be held:
- Monday, May 23: 1-2:30 pm
- Wednesday, May 25: 3-4:30 pm
- Thursday, May 26: 10-11:30 am
To register, please use the following link: http://mnscu.webex.com/training. Select the session date you would like to attend. The session title is: MnSCU Tested Experience Framework Review and Comment.
Comments collected from the Web-Ex will be shared with the system work group. If individuals are not able to attend the these sessions, feedback can be sent to Pakou.firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, May 27. Please cc MREA on your feedback.
The work group is tentatively scheduled to share recommendations on the framework to the MnSCU Leadership Council in early this summer.
The Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) most recent guidelines for faculty qualifications provide more explanation for “Tested Experience.” They may substitute for some or all of the required 18 credits beyond a general masters degree to teach concurrent enrollment classes when the full requirements kick in for MnSCU courses in 2022-23.
In a preliminary MnSCU’s count, at least 804* high school teachers who are currently teaching dual credit MnSCU courses will need additional course work and/or documented ‘tested experience’ to be fully credentialed. This represents 60 percent of today’s concurrent enrollment teachers.
Defining Tested Experience
HLC describes high school teachers’ tested experience as follows:
HLC recognizes that many high school teachers possess tested experience beyond their years in the classroom that may account for content knowledge for the dual credit courses they may teach.
These teachers may have gained relevant experience while working in other sectors or through professional development or other relevant experience that now informs their teaching. They may be active in professional organizations and learned societies through presentations and publications on topics relevant to the dual credit courses they may teach.
In combination with other credentials and/or tested experience, they may be able to provide direct evidence of their students’ achievement on college-level tests that reflects a level of teaching and learning akin to a college classroom. However, evidence of students’ achievement, on its own, is not sufficient to demonstrate minimal qualifications.
While MREA take strong issue with the last sentence above, at least HLC recognizes that teachers have professional experiences that deepen their content and pedagogical knowledge and this evidence can count towards full credentialing of a high school teacher within the HLC guidelines. View the HLC Guidelines on Tested Experience
In recommendations to accredited higher education organizations, HLC recommends:
In their policies on tested experience as a basis for hiring faculty members, institutions are encouraged to develop faculty hiring qualifications that outline a minimum threshold of experience and a system of evaluation. Tested experience qualifications should be established for specific disciplines and programs and could include skill sets, types of certifications or additional credentials, and experiences
Both MnSCU and the University of Minnesota have been working on frameworks, but in separate teams.
MREA is very concerned that in both tone and content the U of M’s draft and department process appear closer to the HLC guidelines than MnSCU’s. The U’s framework starts with 16 categories of tested experience while MnSCU’s states tested experience “should only be used for cases in exemption, and not construed as normal practice.”
Since more MREA member districts use MnSCU post-secondary institutions than the U, we need you to raise you voices with MnSCU on this issue. While this is right before graduation and a busy time of year, please pay attention and provide feedback, if not prior to graduation then in the very next week.
Here is some additional information regarding these frameworks shared with MREA in a virtual meeting.
- The University draft has sixteen categories of tested experience. Julie Williams stated that not all sixteen categories of tested experience in the draft University framework will be used by all departments at the U. Each department is in the process of choosing which categories of tested experience it will use and what the specific criteria will be within each category for each department. This general framework will end being very tailored for each academic discipline.
- MNSCU draft framework states tested experience “should only be used cases in exemption, and not construed as normal practice.”
- MNSCU draft document states that credit for prior learning is to be established by each department and institution and can only be for credits available at that institution.
- HLC states tested experience should not be typical, but the frame of reference matters.
- MNSCU apparently interprets that to mean program by program, not institution wide.
- U of M believes across the whole institution, faculty will be credentialed primarily with courses and degrees. Using tested experience for dual credit teachers is a small minority of all University faculty.
*804 does not include high school teachers teaching classes for Southwest Minnesota State University which is a large provider of concurrent enrollment.