Committing to credential transparency

The American Association of Community Colleges and 14 other national postsecondary education organizations have agreed to use a new credential registry as well as common language to describe credential information in an effort to make credential data easier to understand for students, employers and other stakeholders.  The organizations — led by the American Council on Education (ACE), the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Credential Engine and EDUCAUSE — announced Monday that they have signed a joint statement supporting credential data transparency. The goal is to “dismantle long-held data silos and unlock the power of open data to better serve students,” according to a press release from Credential Engine.

“These organizations will encourage their members to describe their credential offerings with a common language and house the data in an open, cloud-based registry in order to empower students, workers, employers and policymakers to make more informed decisions about credentials and their value,” it said.

There are more than 730,000 unique credentials offered in the U.S., according to new research from Credential Engine. Deciphering what those credentials mean can be confusing for students, companies, policymakers and others.

“College and university leaders need to be able to break through this noise and demonstrate to students and employers the value of their institutional offerings, as well as provide a responsive mechanism to help align program curricula to outcomes and track credential changes over time,” according to the press release.

The organizations will contribute to the first and only comprehensive credential registry, use a common language to describe credential information, and leverage open data technology to better collect, connect and compare credential data across institutions, businesses and organizations.

“As we look to bolster public confidence in our higher education system and improve student outcomes, colleges and universities should embrace credential transparency principles,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “These principles will be integral in ensuring that quality learning is connected and counted.”

The signing organizations include:

  • Achieving the Dream
  • ACT
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
  • American Association of Community Colleges
  • American Council on Education
  • Association of Community College Trustees
  • Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
  • Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
  • Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area
  • NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
  • National Association for College Admission Counseling
  • University Professional and Continuing Education Association

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