Policy in Incremental Credentialing

Policy Assessment Checklist

It is critical that those seeking to advance incremental credentialing at their institutions (e.g., the campus leadership team, faculty) understand the policy landscape. At a minimum, that landscape should include the federal, state, state system/coordinating board, accreditation, and employer levels. The following checklist can be a vital tool for assessing the policy context. The higher the score, the more positive will be the policy context for incremental credentialing.

Each member of the incremental credentialing development team should complete this form. The individual scores will help define team members’ varying levels of understanding of the policy context. The team can then work to reach a common understanding of the policy landscape early in the development process.

Check List

  • Your institution receives federal Title IV funds and administers Pell grants to students.
  • Your institution values degree as well as non-degree credentials, and the institution’s leaders speak about these developments in public forums and specific policy environments.
  • Your institution has a typology for defining, coding, and categorizing incremental credentials within the campus learning management system. This includes definitions of the names for various types of credentials.
  • Your institution collects and reports data on degrees, certificates, and other shorter-term credentials (e.g., microcredentials, badges, licenses).
  • Your institution has a verification and recordkeeping policy in place to capture learning that occurs outside the traditional classroom. This might include offering students the capacity to develop a digital portfolio in addition to their college transcript, and/or provide Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs), and/or developing Learning & Employment Records (LERs), and/or outsourcing badging or other digital credential services to Credly, Parchment, or other services.
  • Your institution has a policy governing prior learning assessment.
  • Your institution collects data on both credit and non-credit credentials.
  • Your institution administers Career and Technical Education (CTE) and related WIOA and Perkins programs for your students.
  • Your institution partners with employers to offer apprenticeships.
  • Your institution partners with employers to offer internships.
  • Your institution partners with employers to offer other work-and-learn programs.
  • Your state allows community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees.
  • Your state allows four-year institutions to offer degrees below the baccalaureate degree level (e.g., associate degrees, sub-baccalaureate certificate programs).
  • Your state has policy calling for stackable credentials.
  • Your state has policy calling for mandatory transfer between two- and four-year institutions (e.g., common articulation agreement, common course numbering).
  • Your state has policy related to microcredentials, alternative credentials, and/or non-degree credentials.
  • Your state has a policy calling for prior learning assessment.
  • Your institutional accrediting organization has clear policies concerning incremental credentials.
  • The specialized accreditors for your institution’s programs have clear policies on incremental credentials.
  • Your institution participates in grants, research, collaboratives, networks of institutions, and/other such activities related to innovations in credentialing.
  • Your institution has already developed some incremental credentials (there is prior experience with incremental credentialing).
  • Your institution participates in reverse transfer degree programs.



Your institution’s policy context score: ____________

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