All learning matters, wherever and however it’s obtained. To that end, all learning should be able to count for credit towards a credential, whether a degree, a certificate, an industry certification, a license, an apprenticeship completion, or a badge. Those credits should be stackable to allow the learner to take varied learning and career pathways efficiently. We can achieve that by focusing on competencies – what a credential holder knows and is able to do.
Corporation for a Skilled Workforce has embarked on a multi-year initiative to increase dramatically the use and interoperability of quality competency-based credentials across the country. We are collaborating with many partners who share our commitment to build large-scale use of competency-based credentials by businesses, educators, and learners/workers across the nation.
CSW is focusing on two strategies to advance competency-based credentialing in the U.S. First, we’re developing, in partnership with CLASP and support from Lumina Foundation, a meta Credentials Framework that will offer a common picture showing how all credentials can be understood in terms of the competencies holders of those credentials possess. This approach centers on the idea that we can and should “connect the dots” between degrees, certificates, certifications, and other credentials, making them all part of a shared way learners can communicate their competencies.
Second, we’re engaging states, colleges, industry groups and others in a range of practice-based efforts to develop and implement competency-based credentialing work. We believe that the U.S. will arrive at effective approaches and large-scale uses of competency-based credentials by undertaking a combination of national policy development work and applied experimentation, with each informing the other iteratively as we go.
CSW has been part of several prior efforts that set the stage for our current work on competency-based credentialing. They include:
- Joining with diverse partners to call for a national dialogue on creating a competency-based credentialing ecosystem in the U.S.
- Publishing Making a Market for Competency-Based Credentials, which analyzes the credentialing landscape, identifies promising credentialing approaches, and assesses what is needed to create a clear and compelling credentials marketplace.
- Issuing as a companion piece to Making a Market a set of Competency-Based Credentials Case Studies, which provide a glimpse of the variety of approaches being undertaken in different industries—by an array of different stakeholders— both in the U.S. and internationally.
- Last fall, we held a webinar series, “Making a Market for Competency-Based Credentials.” Slides from all three webinars in the series are available here: Webinar 1: An Overview, Webinar 2: Effective Employer Engagement, and Webinar 3: What can colleges do?
- Co-publishing a paper with CLASP, Giving Credit Where Credit is Due, that makes the case that far too many learners engage in credit-worthy education for which they get no credit for the outcomes that result.
The CSW team doing this work is led by Co-Founder and Chair Larry Good, Senior Policy Fellow Stephanie Krauss, Senior Policy Associate Susan Lupo and Communications Director Katie Hall.