Examines the challenges and barriers to bridging credit and noncredit programs at the postsecondary level.

“This report seeks to contribute to the conversation about how to move the postsecondary and employment and training fields toward a qualifications framework for awarding educational credit for occupational education and training based on demonstrated competencies. It begins with a brief overview of sub-baccalaureate education, looking specifically at disconnects in the current system—disconnects between credit and noncredit programs, as well as disconnects between education and training provided by educational institutions and that provided by employers, the military, community-based organizations, and a host of others. The report then examines federal, state, and institutional efforts to better assure the quality of credentials and to bridge noncredit and credit-bearing instruction.

Next, the report looks at a consensus-building process developed among European countries for creating more consistent expectations regarding postsecondary learning outcomes, as well as at efforts underway to apply this process to the U.S. postsecondary education system. This process suggests an approach to creating a qualifications framework that would enable postsecondary institutions to reliably and consistently award educational credit for noncredit workforce education and training, regardless of where and how the training occurred” (p.3).

(Abstractor: Author)

Full Publication Title: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: Creating a Competency-Based Qualifications Framework for Postsecondary Education and Training

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Our recommendations build on the best elements of these examples in order to create a competency-based system for measuring learning and awarding postsecondary credit. Create a national, competency-based framework for U.S. postsecondary education that includes certificate-level workforce education and training. [The authors] recommend that this framework focus on one-year certificates and be modeled on Lumina Foundation’s initiative to establish learning outcomes for multiple levels of academic credentials. It should be constructed with the input from multiple participants, including education, workforce, and employer stakeholders. Reduce institutional barriers between credit- and noncredit-bearing education. [The authors] call on the federal government, states, foundations, and educational institutions to support the implementation of policies and practices that will dramatically increase the linkages between credit and noncredit education in the short-term, both to meet current need and to lay the groundwork for longer-term reforms” (p.3). “Link data systems to provide a more comprehensive picture of student learning outcomes. [The authors] recommend that the federal government, states, foundations, and educational institutions support efforts at all levels to improve and link data collection systems within a national framework, particularly efforts related to tracking noncredit students as they advance through the postsecondary education system” (p.3-4). ( Abstractor: Author)