Understanding the Essentials of Direct Assessment (Webcast Recording)



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There continues to be a great deal of confusion surrounding direct assessment in higher education. During this webcast you will learn direct assessment trends, updates, and procedures from one of only six institutions approved by the US Department of Education to offer this unique approach to assessing student learning. Gain a general overview of direct assessment and its implications for your institution by hearing from Kate Kazin, Chief Academic Officer at College for America at Southern New Hampshire University.

You will leave this event with answers to the following questions:

  • What is direct assessment?
  • What does direct assessment mean for your institution?
  • What is the latest guidance from the Department of Education on direct assessment?
  • How do you seek accreditation for direct assessment programs?
  • Why do you need to understand the C-RAC guidelines on CBE?
  • How can you secure federal funding for direct assessment programs – and should you?

Who Should Attend

Institutions that want to try direct assessment must first get the permission from the U.S. Department of Education and their accreditor in order to qualify for federal financial aid. Because implementing direct assessment requires a team approach, we encourage participation from:

  • Faculty
  • Academic leaders
  • Financial aid administrators
  • Institutional researchers

Learning Outcome

After participating in this online training, you will be able to identify how key trends in CBE and direct assessment will affect your institution.


  • Understanding direct assessment
    • Competency-based education (CBE)
    • Title IV provision allowing for financial aid
  • Role of assessment in CBE
  • Accreditation for CBE programs
  • Financial aid for CBE programs
  • Applying for approval under the “direct assessment” provision


Cathrael (Kate) Kazin, JD, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer, College for America at Southern New Hampshire University

Dr. Kazin serves as chief academic officer at College for America (CfA) at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a nonprofit, fully accredited institution that offers low-cost, online, competency-based program for underserved working adults. She created the CfA competency-based model and continues to oversee all aspects of curriculum and assessment development as well as the evaluation of student work. CfA was the first entirely competency-based program to be approved by its regional accreditor, NEASC, and the first program in the nation to be approved under the “direct assessment” provision of Title IV by the US Department of Education.

Dr. Kazin came to SNHU from Educational Testing Service (ETS), where she served as executive director for the higher education division and led efforts to develop next generation assessments for 21st century skills.

Dr. Kazin is also an attorney specializing in civil rights and higher education law. She earned a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was an editor of the Law Review. After working at the law firm of Hogan and Hartson (now Hogan Lovells), she joined the US Department of Labor, where she served both as an attorney and as a speechwriter to Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.


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