Building Trust & Other Connecting Credentials Reports Released

Connecting Credentials just released five workgroup reports with important new insights on achieving a well-functioning, learner-centered credentialing ecosystem. Ralph Wolff and Melanie Booth from The QA Commons served as co-chairs with Nate Anderson from Jobs for the Future for the group that worked on Building Trust in the Quality of Credentials. This report outlines three conditions in which trust in quality credentials can be promoted: quality, evidence, and transparency.  From the report:
To build greater trust, we need improvements across the three domains of trust—quality, evidence and transparency. We need quality assurance processes to become more transparent and aligned with workforce needs and to promote adherence to, and continuous improvement of, these standards. We need more complete and comprehensive data collection and research/evaluation efforts to produce evidence of credential outcomes and value. We need increased transparency and much greater investment in guidance to help users make informed choices about a credential’s value for their purposes. To make informed choices, consumers, especially “first-generation learners,” need help and context to understand what data are important, what the data mean, and how to rely on evidence and data to make decisions.

The Building Trust report identifies some promising approaches in the field to address this issue, and concludes with a set of recommendations for action.

The five reports are:

  • Aligning Supply and Demand Signals – This workgroup describes the opportunity presented by the convergence of technology changes and increasing focus on competencies to transform hiring and job searches.
  • Improving Learner Mobility – This group recommended actions to strengthen the meaning and role for shorter-term credentials (certificates, certifications, badges, and more) in education and employment.
  • Making All Learning Counts a Reality – This group created a two-part model to help understand what learning doesn’t count for either educational credit or employment, and made recommendations centered on opportunities to ensure work-based learning is recognized for both purposes.

Each report contains an overview of the issue on which the workgroup focused, examples of promising practices, and recommended actions. This set of reports offers an important supplement to the recommended actions published a year ago in From National Dialogue to Collective Action: Building Learning-Based Credentialing Systems.

 

Slides From IUPUI Assessment Institute

Peter Ewell and Melanie Booth from The QA Commons presented about the EEQ Certification project at the IUPUI Assessment Institute on October 23, 2017.  Here are the slides:

In attending the conference, we also learned about a lot of programs and institutions doing good work in the areas we are exploring: engaging students in assessment; assuring high quality experiential learning opportunities for students to apply their learning to work-based contexts; documenting and assessing student learning with ePortfolios; etc. We’re eager to soon share some new resources as a result on our Resource webpage, so check back soon!

EEQ Pilot Research Questions

Enter

Learning is Here | by cogdogblog

The Quality Assurance Commons is working with 27 programs from 14 higher educational institutions to co-design and pilot a new approach to program-level quality assurance that focuses on developing students’ Essential Employability Qualities (EEQs). These EEQs include:

  1. People skills such as collaboration, teamwork and cross-cultural competence;
  2. Problem-solving abilities such as inquiry, critical thinking and creativity; and
  3. Professional strengths such as communication, work ethic and technological agility.

We have several research questions guiding this work, which we are addressing together during the pilot process, including:

  • Do the draft criteria reflect the needs of students and employers and support program effectiveness?
  • What are the most relevant and useful indicators of success for each criterion?
  • What data are publically available, relevant, and useful in identifying program performance and outcomes vis-à-vis the criteria?
  • What is the best way to validate and evaluate data provided by an institution or program?
  • What are the best ways to connect program outcomes with institutional support services, such as career services, student advising, etc.?
  • In what ways will the quality assurance process provide value to institutions and programs while not creating additional reporting burdens?
  • How can EEQ Certification communicate program quality and performance successfully to students, employers, community members, and other external stakeholders as well as to the institution and/or program being reviewed?
  • How might the certification approach best be aligned with other quality assurance processes, such as program reviews and regional, national, and programmatic accreditation?

We are also exploring the delicate but essential balance between developing a rigorous process so that a certification can be meaningful to employers and students with the reality of programs’ capacity.

What other questions should we try to address as we work with our partner programs to develop this approach? Let us know in the comments below!

News About The EEQ Pilot

Two pieces have recently been published about the EEQ Pilot  project- see them here:

Next-Generation Quality Assurance for Tomorrow’s Talent – by Debra Humphreys, Lumina Foundation

Group Attempts New Twist on Accreditation – by Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

 

Involving Students in Accreditation

Students are key stakeholders within the dynamic new landscape of higher education, and they must be valued and engaged as such. There are many opportunities for students to participate: serving on review teams, having a responsible place in policy and decision making, being invited to provide input in preparing and writing standards, having accreditation ambassadors inform other students about the process, and so on. All of these levels of involvement have been, for years, required as part of quality assurance processes in Europe and have proven to be effective. It is time for the U.S. to adopt a similar model.

Simon Boehme, Director of Student Engagement, published this piece in The Huffington Post and it will also be posted on the CHEA website – check it out!

Involving Students in Accreditation

The QA Commons is committed to engaging students — in designing a prototype quality assurance process with us, in participating in that process, and in engaging other students in the important work of assuring quality in higher and postsecondary education.