As 2013 comes to a close, we find ourselves once more on the eve of the New Year. And, as we do every year, many of us are asking ourselves what this year will bring. We make resolutions, plan for the future, and try to predict what will come to pass.

This isn’t just true in our personal lives, though; it’s been a big year for policy changes and educational reform, and there are several education trends that we can expect to see in the coming year.

Since funding has continually gone down while time until graduation has steadily gone up, people will be looking for more ways to decrease the time students actually spend in school. Paying for the resources needed to educate students gets expensive quickly, which is why we’ll likely see more schools offering competency-based options, where students can earn credit for what they already know, work experience, and mastery of knowledge.

Education Trends in 2014

Education Trends in 2014.
Image: Shutterstock

Another trend we’ll likely see is education centered on specific careers or technical skills. While the four-year college degree has long been touted as the way to a successful career, it’s becoming clearer that there are other options, which can be both more economic and effective. Students who focus their learning on applicable skills—particularly in math and science—often find it easier to get hired on because their skill sets better fit specific career paths.

As the education reform war rages on, more emphasis is being put on teacher effectiveness. The number of degrees a teacher has isn’t a true measure of their teaching skills. The true question being pursued is how to actually measure how effective teachers are. Student test performance is one factor, but a highly debated one—students in socioeconomically challenged areas often have poorer test results than students from privileged communities, despite the quality of teacher. It’s likely that student test results will tie in as part of teacher assessment, as well as classroom observation, formal reviews, and ability to improve practices.

What other education trends do you expect to see as a parent, student, or teacher?