Moving from a Degree-Centric Postsecondary System to an Incremental Credentialing System: What Happens to Learners’ Financing Options?

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Quality, Trust, and Value of Incremental Credentials

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Checklist to Guide Development and Assessment

Quality, Trust, and Value of Incremental Credentials

Checklist to Guide Development and Assessment

Use the following checklist to guide the development and assessment of your credential(s). The checklist was adapted from a list of indicators from Workcred.


☐ What is the purpose and intended outcome of the credential? Clarify the goals and objectives you aim to achieve through the credential. Determine the specific skills, knowledge, and/or competencies the credential should impart.

☐ How does the credential align with industry needs and trends to ensure the credential reflects the evolving requirements of the industry? Was industry involved in creating the credential, and to what extent? Are there formal endorsements by industry? Have you conducted research on the current and future demands of the industry or field? Have you identified the skills and knowledge that are highly valued by employers and stakeholders?

☐ What are the accreditation requirements and standards? Familiarize yourself with the accreditation process and standards relevant to your credential. Determine the accreditation agencies that align with your credential's goals and objectives. Is it accredited by a third party, such as ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) or National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)? Ensure the credential meets the necessary criteria for accreditation.

☐ What is the curriculum and instructional design? Develop a comprehensive and rigorous curriculum that covers the necessary content. Consider different instructional methods and resources to enhance learning outcomes. Incorporate real-world applications, practical experiences, and hands-on learning opportunities. To assess the quality of the instruction: How is the content taught or made available? To assess the assessment of competencies: Does it have an assessment that measures learning outcomes, and what form does that assessment take?

☐ How will assessment and evaluation be conducted? Design an assessment framework that aligns with the learning outcomes and credential objectives. Determine the appropriate assessment methods, such as exams, projects, portfolios, or practical demonstrations. Establish criteria and rubrics for evaluating learners’ performance and determining credential completion.

☐ In what ways will the credential be recognized and valued by stakeholders?

☐ Identify potential employers, professional organizations, and industry leaders who will recognize and value the credential. Consider establishing partnerships and collaborations to enhance the credential's reputation and visibility.

☐ Explore opportunities for promoting credentials through marketing and communication strategies.


☐ To assess validity of skills: Does the credential support a recognized occupation or specialty?

☐ To assess validity of skills: Is this credential connected to state or federal licensure? Which other jurisdictions (all? a majority?) recognize the credential?

☐ To assess the assessment of competencies: Does it have a standardized examination or specified expected competencies for the field?

☐ To assess the quality of the instruction: Is the content taught by recognized subject matter experts?

☐ To assess the appropriateness of the instruction: Do the teaching strategies support achieving the learning outcomes?

☐ To assess economic value: Is there data that demonstrates gainful employment by individuals holding the credential? Is your institution following individuals into employment and/or economic mobility paths?

☐ To assess the maintenance of competencies: Depending on the needs for currency in the occupational area, does it have processes for expiration, re-certification or re-licensure, and revocation (due to unethical or incompetent conduct)?

☐ Is the credential supported by a national or international standard (e.g., ISO/IEC 17024:2012, Conformity assessment―General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons, and ASTM E2659-18, Standard Practice for Certificate Programs)?

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