Giving Compass’ Take:
• More students are signing up for credential programs rather than taking traditional courses to earn degrees in higher education. However, without a formal review of credential systems or value, employers do not know what specific qualifications are relevant.
• How can higher ed leaders and employers create a pipeline that is inclusive of the credential system and ensures both parties understand the criteria?
When graduate student Atis Degro got an email about a George Mason University course in resilience last year, he had to look up what that meant.
He was also curious about the credential being offered for successfully completing the course: not a conventional degree or a certificate, but a “badge.”
“I thought, okay, this sounds useful,” said Degro, a 32-year-old doctoral student from Latvia studying applied physics. “I’m always eager to try new things.” So Degro took the course and earned the badge that turned out to be a way to list his new skill in an online resume with a digital graphic that looks like an emoji.
Such non-degree credentials have been growing in popularity. But as students invest more time and money in them, concerns grow about credentials’ quality control and value. While there has generally been consensus about what a college degree represents, there’s confusion over how to define many of these new credentials and judge their usefulness for employers and job seekers.
Thousands of credentials classes aimed at improving specific skills have cropped up outside of traditional colleges. Some classes are boot camps, including those popular with computer coders. Others are even more narrowly focused, such as courses on factory automation and breastfeeding. Colleges and universities have responded by adding non-degree programs of their own.
In addition, some 4,000 colleges and other providers issue industry certifications, according to the Lumina Foundation, but fewer than one in 10 are reviewed by a regulatory body or accreditor.
Read the full article about student credentials by Matt Krupnick at The Hechinger Report
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