A True Credential

As we know, a diploma doesn’t necessarily mean that students have learned very much. But in today’s Clarion Call piece, George Leef suggests a way of addressing that: “One possibility is that an entrepreneur will devise a set of reliable exams that will show an individual’s capabilities and knowledge better than merely having passed enough college courses to get a degree.”

I welcome that, and it may have unexpected ramifications. Once the reliable exams show up, perhaps the college part will not be all that essential.

Dale Stephens, who has just received one of Peter Thiel’s new fellowships, may be putting such exams together. Thiel just announced the names of 20 young entrepreneurs (20 years old or less) who will each receive $100,000 if they agree not to go to college while they have the fellowship.

Stephens is working on “a platform called RadMatter to revolutionize how we develop and demonstrate talent in the twenty-first century” (I’m quoting from the news release.) He’s also the founder of UnCollege, which, according to the website, is meant to be a way to “design your own education” through “self-directed learning.” Could he be showing a way to bypass college altogether?

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

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