National Credential Quality Assurance Frameworks Are Now Part of the Credential Engine Registry

By Nicky Lauricella Coolberth, May 27, 2021

Three leading national organizations— National Skills Coalition, Education Strategy Group, and Education Quality Outcomes Standards Board—have mapped their quality assurance frameworks to the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) to improve the transparency of the quality and value of credentials.

Until today, credential quality frameworks, definitions, and measures of quality for credentials and outcomes have not been easily comparable. This has created inconsistency in how credentials, skills, and education and 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?

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.

“These frameworks make it easier for states to combine credential quality and transparency efforts so that people have consistent information about which high-quality training programs and credentials lead to employment,” says Rachel Vilsack, Senior Fellow at National Skills Coalition. “It’s an important step towards an inclusive economic recovery that helps people who want reskilling opportunities and helps businesses seeking trained, skilled workers.”

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.

More on Credential Quality from National Skills Coalition: