I have always been an advocate for paying attention to the big players in the higher education market because what happens there has an effect on all the rest of the industry; especially in the non-traditional market.
“Induced to Fail?”
“A group of former Excelsior College students have sued the institution over its online associate degree program in nursing, claiming the self-paced, competency-based curriculum clashes with an expensive and "subjective" clinical exam.”
“In the complaint, filed in a federal district court in New York, 17 former students in Excelsior’s associate degree program in nursing from 11 different states say the college sold them “ an ‘educational’ program that was devoid of any education, and ... an ‘objective’ test, which was anything but objective.” The students, many of whom have decades of experience in the medical field, are suing Excelsior for breach of contract and deceptive or misleading practices.”
“The nursing program’s curriculum can be accessed online or, for students without Internet access, as a set of CD-ROMs. Once students have passed several nursing theory exams, completed 21 out of the 31 required credits and taken a computer-based clinical assessment test, they take the college's Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination. The 17 students, however, say the coursework did not prepare them for the CPNE, and that Excelsior withheld information about the test until they “had expended resources and were irreversibly committed to completing the program.””
“The CPNE costs $2,225 per attempt, and students are given a test date between three and eight months after signing up.”
“One of the 17 students, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not sign up to retake the test after failing it the first time. The student described being subjected to “psychological tricks,” such as facing constant interruptions and having to whisper the reasoning behind each step of the clinical process. At one point during the test, the student said a registered nurse walked up and said “I feel really sorry for you guys.””
““They were trying to induce you to fail,” the student said. “When you’re playing against a stacked deck, you don’t stand much of a chance of winning.””
Read the whole thing here: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/02/24/former-nursing-students-sue-excelsior-college-over-deceptive-or-misleading-practices
I would say Excelsior College has some work to do if even only a small percentage of this is true. However, we should constantly be asking ourselves: are we preparing our students for the real world?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III