Until today, credential quality frameworks, definitions, and measures of quality for credentials and outcomes have not been easily comparable. This has created a lot of inconsistency in how credentials, skills, and education/training opportunities are understood and acted upon. 

To help solve this issue, Education Strategy Group (ESG), the Education Quality Outcomes Standards Board (EQOS), and National Skills Coalition (NSC) have developed useful credential quality frameworks to guide state, program and institutional criteria on the value and quality of credentials. These frameworks are specifically focused on:

  • Market alignment: Is the credential relied upon or prioritized by employers hiring for in-demand, high-wage roles? Is it industry recognized?
  • Equity: Are there gaps in or credential attainment or other outcomes by race, gender, or other student characteristics?
  • Outcomes: Are outcomes connected to a specific credential comparable and reliable? Are the data related to credentials around job placement and earnings defined using the same metrics and consistent definitions? Is the credential attainment data reported reliable? Valid? Audited by a third party?

Credential Currency: How States Can Identify and Promote Credentials of Value

Quality Assurance Standards: Framework and Outcomes Metrics

Expanding Opportunities: Defining Quality Non-Degree Credentials for States

We are excited to announce that all three of these organizations have now mapped their frameworks to the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL)—an open-source common language that lets states and providers catalog, organize, and compare credentials with uniformity.  This helps ensure their frameworks are transparent, easily accessible, and useful for people to better identify high-value, high-quality credentials. States and institutions that are working with one of these organizations can now publish the outcomes of their assessments against these quality frameworks to the Credential Registry.

The CTDL Credential Quality Benchmarks based on these frameworks help ensure that no matter which framework is used by a state, it will be available in a consistent, common language. States will also be able to more easily highlight credentials of value and compare their results through the Credential Registry.

Credential Engine, EQOS, NSC, and ESG and our State Policy Partners have also authored a recent Policy Brief titled Making Information About Credentials More Actionable Through Increased Transparency and Quality Assurance which makes the case for making quality indicators about credentials more transparent. We encourage you to read the policy brief and use the Credential Quality Benchmarks to make information about credentials more transparent: accessible, comparable, understandable, and actionable.  

If you have any questions about the ongoing credential transparency work of these organizations or how to get involved, please email Scott Cheney, CEO of Credential Engine, at scheney@credentialengine.org.

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