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Benchmark Data Model – A Best Practice for Publishing

We know that students, employers, job seekers, and others need comprehensive information to better understand and make decisions about credentials. To become credential literate, we must first ensure that our credential data is described in a common way. The Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) provides this common language through a rich dictionary of terms that allows credentialing bodies of all types, from institutions of higher education to bootcamps, to describe their organization and key credential information. With over 300 terms; the comprehensiveness of the CTDL gives credentialing organizations the power to portray their credentials in great detail.

In order to ensure users have a basic level of data points by which to compare credentials, Credential Engine developed a policy to require a minimum set of data. However, we know that students, employers, job seekers, and others need more than this minimum to better understand and make decisions about credentials. Students need information about cost and duration to make an informed decision about how to spend their resources, employers are looking for information about competencies to match up with their job requirements, and state agencies that build out career exploration tools need industry and CIP code data to better categorize credentials.

According to Stephen Eden, Director of the Culinary and Hospitality Council at Delaware North, “Credential Engine’s benchmarks are a good barometer for how much detailed data we need to truly understand the credentials in our sector. Having robust comparative information about credentials available to us and other employers through the Credential Registry improves our ability to search and compare what is currently offered in the marketplace.”

To help credential issuers understand the type of information that is most relevant to their credential type, we created benchmark models with input from our Advisory Groups, Registry participants, and other stakeholders that demonstrate the essential data that Registry users need. These benchmark models are recommendations to credential issuers about the type of information that employers, students, application developers, state agencies, and others will find valuable. We strongly encourage publishers to include as much of this information as is applicable and available.

Below is a walk-through of the benchmark models:

As you’ll see, for each group of credential types the required information that is included in the minimum data policy is shown along with the benchmark. The benchmark models are inclusive of the “required if available” and “recommended” data in the minimum data policy as well as some additional terms. The models are organized by credential type to accommodate the differences in both structure and critical data points for each type (degree, license, certificate, badge, etc.). Though not all credentials will fit neatly into these boxes, these benchmark models should serve as a guideline for the amount of information that can help transform the credentialing marketplace by bringing transparency and common understanding to credentials.

We hope these benchmarks help your organization plan for Registry publishing and prioritize what data to include. For more information, please see our additional resources:

Organization Benchmark Model

Certification and Licenses Benchmark Model

Degrees and Certificates Benchmark Model

Apprenticeships and Badges Benchmark Model