A bill in the California Legislature could create a New University of California -- a university that would have neither teachers nor classes, and only test students on knowledge and skills they've learned elsewhere, including large online classes that are open to anyone.

AB 1306 by Assemblyman Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) is scheduled to go before the Committee on Higher Education in the State Assembly on April 23. The bill would establish a fourth branch of higher education in the state that doesn't conduct research or have faculty. Instead, the sole purpose of the university would be to award college credit and degrees based on student exam results.

This bill tests in a big way whether mainstream higher education is ready to shift away from a teaching role to a knowledge validation role. And if it goes through the California Legislature and gets the governor’s signature, it could cause other states to rethink how higher education operates.