Learners and working adults need information about credentials and their outcomes in a format that is easy to understand. With nearly one million unique credentials issued in the United States, anyone who needs access to timely, reliable information on high-quality skills training should be able to find it.
Credential Engine, in partnership with NSC and 10 other influential organizations, has released a new policy brief, Making Information about Credentials More Actionable through Increased Transparency and Quality Assurance. The brief explores how governors, legislators, and agency leaders can work to advance credential transparency. It also examines how increased quality and transparency help meet their postsecondary completion, equity, and workforce goals.
National Skills Coalition believes quality non-degree credentials can be evaluated through data. The four key criteria for defining quality non-degree credentials are:
Simply put: Americans need clear and reliable information about their educational options. But they also need to know how to navigate these options. Good data on credential quality and transparency helps them select a path that leads to equitable economic and career success.
Everyone benefits from quality information because:
State leaders are critical to ensuring the quality assurance process is coordinated and aligned to serve all stakeholders. Policymakers should be consistent about which skills training programs and credentials aid in the reskilling and upskilling of working adults. Combining credential quality and transparency efforts helps ensure this consistency.
Here are some recommendations and examples of state efforts:
State example: Colorado has leveraged their student longitudinal data system to create a “data trust.” This makes it more efficient to link data collections and produce more actionable information. As part of this effort, credentials that are offered in Colorado will be available on Credential Engine’s Credential Registry, so that students and working adults can make more informed decisions. Through recent work with the National Skills Coalition, Colorado also adopted criteria to define quality non-degree credentials. This will increase the usefulness of credential information for students and adult learners when setting their education and employment goals.
State example: The Louisiana Board of Regents recently approved a quality credentials of value policy. A cross-sector team—representing workforce, economic development, secondary, higher education and community college leadership—was vital to validating the policy. It will classify which non-academic credentials provide value in the marketplace and lead to strong career opportunities with good wages. These credentials of value will also be counted towards the state’s postsecondary attainment goal.
State example: Leaders in Alabama are intentionally linking credential quality and transparency efforts with the launch of the Alabama Compendium of Valuable Credentials. This list of high-value credentials is aligned with regional and state career pathways. Information about credentials will be made available using a common data language. This allows for a greater connection of systems and tools to advance the success of state residents.
The Making Information about Credentials More Actionable through Increased Transparency and Quality Assurance policy brief includes more information on how quality frameworks are being supported in Credential Engine’s transparency efforts.