Measuring What Matters: February 2024 Carnegie Foundation Newsletter

Below is Carnegie President Timothy Knowles’s opening to our February 2024 newsletter. Join our mailing list for additional resources and recommended reads.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

If you’ve had the chance to read any of the featured stories included in previous editions of this newsletter, you have heard the Carnegie Unit described as “the bedrock currency of the educational economy,” “the pesky Carnegie Unit,” and “the time-based credit system most used in high schools and colleges today.” For more than a century, the Carnegie Unit has defined what counts as learning (seat time), shaped the nature of what is assessed, and determined the basic organization of secondary and postsecondary education. The formula has the virtue of simplicity. However, a century of research tells us that time spent at a desk or logged onto a digital platform is a woefully inadequate proxy for learning. 

Working in partnership with the XQ Institute, and educators across the country, we are working to make competency, not time, the primary currency of the educational economy. Our efforts are built on the shoulders of many pathfinders that have come before us, and many more working in schools and universities today.  

We are convinced now is the time for the nation to bring this work to persuasive scale.  

An instrumental collaborator is ETS, with whom we are working on the Skills for the Future Initiative. Together, we aim to build new tools to support students in developing both core academic competencies and essential skills (like persistence, collaboration, civic engagement, critical thinking and communication). Why do such skills matter? Most importantly, there is unambiguous evidence that indicates they predict success in school, career and life. Further, these skills are in exceptionally high demand, across sectors, among employers worldwide. For a deeper look at our work with ETS, I invite you to read this recent article covered by TIME.  

If you want to join us in the work to transform high schools, please reach out.  

We can only do it together. 

In partnership,
Timothy Knowles
President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

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