Center for Skills Validation – Education Design Lab


In August 2023, Education Design Lab announced the creation of the Center for Skills Validation, with support from Walmart. The Education Design Lab is a national nonprofit that designs, implements, and scales new models which increase equitable access and mobility in the future of work.

The Center is an outgrowth of the Education Design Lab ‘s XCredit effort. To date, XCredit has prototyped and piloted:

  • An initial set of skills validation tools and methods, including a suite of 21st century skills assessments.
  • An interoperable ecosystem of partners sharing skills and credential data across systems, making skills visible to employers.
  • A growing coalition of practitioners prototyping and testing new approaches via the Skills Validation Network.

The Center’s formation is fueled by growing recognition that while skills are key to more effective and equitable systems of learning and work, any skills gained and credentialed must first be validated. Yet "skills validation” is a long-term, large-scale effort which requires coordinated efforts among many organizations in the learn-and-work ecosystem.

Skills validation is a process typically conducted by a third party, with the aim to substantiate an assertion of a skill by an individual.  Skills validation creates trust that an individual possesses a skill; the validation is based on a shared understanding of the meaning of a skill; it indicates the level and the context of a skill; and it can be conducted through various methods.

The Center is housing all of Education Design Lab’s work focused on skills validation. These include existing projects including XCredit and its Skills Validation Network. The Lab is providing a space for experimentation and research, and build on previous work to co-create scalable, evidence-based skills validation tools, methods, and solutions. The objectives of the Center are to:

  • Drive experimentation and research.
  • Enable scale and delivery of skills validation tools and methods.
  • Support automation, access, and integration of skills validation into the broader skills ecosystem.
  • Provide technical assistance and capacity-building support in skills validation.
  • Defining the field and making the case for skills validation.



2023 position paper, Skills Validation: An Imperative for Opportunity(PDF)


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