No Longer out of Reach: Blended Competency-Based College Models for Accelerating Higher Education for Refugee Students
Keywords:refugees, higher education, competency-based education, academic support
Higher education offers a pathway to gain or recuperate professional credentials, particularly after experiencing forced displacement. Yet only 1% of refugees pursue postsecondary studies due, in part, to numerous obstacles on that path to college. The purpose of this study was to understand how a competency-based college program facilitates access to college for students from refugee backgrounds. This paper details the findings from a qualitative case study with refugee-background students enrolled in a college program that combines a competency-based model with in-person support. Using the ecological model of college readiness, we found that refugee students benefited from a combination of the project-based program format coupled with in-person support.
Bajwa, Jaswant Kaur, Sidonia Couto, Sean Kidd, Roula Markoulakis, Mulugeta Abai, and Kwame McKenzie. 2017. “Refugees, Higher Education, and Informational Barriers.” Refuge 33 (2): 56–65.
Bandura Albert. (1997). Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York, NY: Freeman.
Batalova, Jeanne, Michael Fix, and Peter A. Creticos. 2008. Uneven Progress: The Employment Pathways of Skilled Immigrants in the United States. Washington, DC: National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Migration Policy Institute.
Cañado, María Luisa Pérez. 2013. “Introduction and Overview.” In Competency-Based Language Teaching in Higher Education, edited by María Luisa Pérez Cañado, 1–18. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-5386-0_1.
Castano Munoz, Jonatan, Elizabeth Colucci, and Hanne Smidt. 2018. “Free Digital Learning for Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees in Europe: A Qualitative Analysis of Three Types of Learning Purposes.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 19 (2): 1–22. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i2.3382.
Conley, David T. (2005). College Knowledge: What it Really Takes for Students to Succeed and What We Can Do to Get Them Ready. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Conley, David T. (2010). College and Career Ready: Helping All Students Succeed Beyond High School. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Crea, Thomas M. 2016. “Refugee Higher Education: Contextual Challenges and Implications for Program Design, Delivery, and Accompaniment.” International Journal of Educational Development 46: 12–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2015.11.005.
Elam, Stanley. 1971. Performance-Based Teacher Education. What is the State of the Art? Washington DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Gervais, Jennifer. 2016. “The Operational Definition of Competency-Based Education Many Academic Institutions and Accreditation Agencies Because it Links Theory to.” Competency-Based Education 1: 98–106. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbe2.1011.
Hernen, Toni Ann. 2016. “Re-Inventing Remedial Reading in the 21st Century: A Review of the Benefits and Challenges of a Hybrid Remedial Reading Course.” HETS Online Journal 6: 114–37.
Kanno, Yasuko, and Manka M. Varghese. 2010. “Immigrant and Refugee ESL Students’ Challenges to Accessing Four-Year College Education: From Language Policy to Educational Policy.” Journal of Language, Identity, and Education 9: 310–28. https://doi.org/10.1080/15348458.2010.517693.
Kerwin, Donald M. 2011. “The Faltering US Refugee Protection System: Legal and Policy Responses to Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Others in Need of Protection.” Washington, DC: Migration Policy. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/faltering-us-refugee-protection-system
Krauss, Stephanie Malia. 2017. “How Competency-Based Education May Help Reduce our Nation’s Toughest Inequities.” Lumina Issue Papers. Lumina Foundation. http://hdl.handle.net/10919/83258
Laitinen, Amy. 2012. Cracking the Credit Hour. New America Foundation and Education Sector. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED540304.pdf
Lincoln, Yvonna S., and Egon G. Guba. 1985. Naturalistic Inquiry. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
McBrien, Jody L. 2005. "Educational Needs and Barriers for Refugee Students in the United States: A Review of the Literature." Review of Educational Research 75 (3): 329–364. doi:10.3102/00346543075003329
Merriam, Sharan B. 1998. Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Russell, Christina and Nina Weaver. 2019. “Reaching Refugees: Southern New Hampshire University’s Project-Based Degree Model for Refugee Higher Education.” In Language, Teaching and Pedagogy for Refugee Education, edited by Enakshi Sengupta and Patrick Blessinger, 157-180. Vol. 15 of Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.
Saldaña, Johnny. 2016. The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Seidman, Irving. 2013. Interviewing as Qualitative Research: A Guide for Researchers in Education and the Social Sciences. 4th ed. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). (2016). Missing out: Refugee Education in Crisis. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees http://www.unhcr.org/57d9d01d0
Uptin, Jonnell, Jan Wright, and Valerie Harwood. 2016. “Finding Education: Stories of How Young Former Refugees Constituted Strategic Identities in Order to Access School.” Race Ethnicity and Education, 19 (3): 598–617. https://doi.org/10.1080/13613324.2014.885428
US Department of Education. 2013. Applying for Title IV Eligibility for Direct Assessment (Competency-Based) Programs. Dear Colleague Letter, GEN-13-10. https://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1310.html
US Department of State. n.d. "The reception and placement program." Accessed January 28, 2019. https://www.state.gov/j/prm/ra/receptionplacement/index.htm
Yang, Yu-fen. 2012. “Blended Learning for College Students with English Reading Difficulties.” Computer Assisted Language Learning 25 (5): 393–410. https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2011.597767.
How to Cite
The findings, interpretations, conclusions, and views expressed in Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education (JCIHE) are entirely those of the authors and should not be attributed in any manner to CIES, HESIG, or the sponsoring universities of the Editorial Staff. These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 License. Readers are free to copy, display, and distribute articles that appear in JCIHE as long as the work is attributed to the author(s) and JCIHE, it is distributed for non-commercial purposes only, and no alteration or transformation is made in the work. All other uses must be approved by the author(s) or JCIHE. By submitting a manuscript, authors agree to transfer without charge the following rights to JCIHE upon acceptance of the manuscript: first worldwide serial publication rights and the right for JCIHE to grant permissions as its editors judge appropriate for the redistribution of the article, its abstract, and metadata associated with the article in professional indexing and reference services.