34 CFR § 668.10 - Direct assessment programs.

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§ 668.10 Direct assessment programs.

(a)

(1) A direct assessment program is a program that, in lieu of credit or clock hours as the measure of student learning, utilizes direct assessment of student learning, or recognizes the direct assessment of student learning by others. The assessment must be consistent with the accreditation of the institution or program utilizing the results of the assessment.

(2) Direct assessment of student learning means a measure of a student's knowledge, skills, and abilities designed to provide evidence of the student's proficiency in the relevant subject area.

(3) An institution must establish a methodology to reasonably equate each module in the direct assessment program to either credit hours or clock hours. This methodology must be consistent with the requirements of the institution's accrediting agency or State approval agency.

(4) All regulatory requirements in this chapter that refer to credit or clock hours as a measurement apply to direct assessment programs according to whether they use credit or clock hour equivalencies, respectively.

(5) A direct assessment program that is not consistent with the requirements of the institution's accrediting agency or State approval agency is not an eligible program as provided under § 668.8. In order for any direct assessment program to qualify as an eligible program, the accrediting agency must have -

(i) Evaluated the program based on the agency's accreditation standards and criteria, and included it in the institution's grant of accreditation or preaccreditation; and

(ii) Reviewed and approved the institution's claim of each direct assessment program's equivalence in terms of credit or clock hours.

(b)

(1) An institution that wishes to offer a direct assessment program must apply to the Secretary to have its direct assessment program or programs determined to be eligible programs for title IV, HEA program purposes. Following the Secretary's initial approval of a direct assessment program, additional direct assessment programs at an equivalent or lower academic level may be determined to be eligible without further approvals from the Secretary except as required by 34 CFR 600.10(c)(1)(iii), 600.20(c)(1), or 600.21(a), as applicable, if such programs are consistent with the institution's accreditation or its State approval agency.

(2) The institution's direct assessment application must provide information satisfactory to the Secretary that includes -

(i) A description of the educational program, including the educational credential offered (degree level or certificate) and the field of study;

(ii) A description of how the direct assessment program is structured, including information about how and when the institution determines on an individual basis what each student enrolled in the program needs to learn and how the institution excludes from consideration of a student's eligibility for title IV, HEA program funds any credits or competencies earned on the basis of prior learning;

(iii) A description of how learning is assessed and how the institution assists students in gaining the knowledge needed to pass the assessments;

(iv) The number of semester, trimester, or quarter credit hours, or clock hours, that are equivalent to the amount of student learning being directly assessed for the certificate or degree;

(v) The methodology the institution uses to determine the number of credit or clock hours to which the program or programs are equivalent; and

(vi) Documentation from the institution's accrediting agency or State approval agency indicating that the agency has evaluated the institution's offering of direct assessment program(s) and has included the program(s) in the institution's grant of accreditation and approval documentation from the accrediting agency or State approval agency indicating agreement with the institutions methodology for determining the direct assessment program's equivalence in terms of credit or clock hours.

(vii) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, no program offered by a foreign institution that involves direct assessment will be considered to be an eligible program under § 668.8.

(c) A direct assessment program may use learning resources (e.g., courses or portions of courses) that are provided by entities other than the institution providing the direct assessment program without regard to the limitations on contracting for part of an educational program in § 668.5(c)(3).

(d) Title IV, HEA program funds may be used to support instruction provided, or overseen, by the institution, except for the portion of the program that the student is awarded based on prior learning.

(e) Unless an institution has received initial approval from the Secretary to offer direct assessment programs, and the institution's offering of direct assessment coursework is consistent with the institution's accreditation and State authorization, if applicable, title IV, HEA program funds may not be used for -

(1) The course of study described in § 668.32(a)(1)(ii) and (iii) and (a)(2)(i)(B), if offered using direct assessment; or

(2) Remedial coursework described in § 668.20, if offered using direct assessment.

(f) Student progress in a direct assessment program may be measured using a combination of -

(1) Credit hours and credit hour equivalencies; or

(2) Clock hours and clock hour equivalencies.

[85 FR 54815, Sept. 2, 2020]

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