Research Blog: Assessment and evaluation of microcredentials: What success looks like and to whom

Overview

Assessment and evaluation of microcredentials: What success looks like and to whom (Downs 2022) describes diverse stakeholder perspectives on how to assess and evaluate microcredentials. The focus is on what success looks like and to whom. Nine stakeholders were interviewed to provide their views to two sets of questions:

     Key Questions—Success

  1. What does success look like for students, employers, faculty, and administrators?
  2. What are the needs that institutions can help learners and employers to fill, in terms of gaps in the curriculum for learners to gain more marketable skills and be competitive in the marketplace?
  3. What are the hidden needs that employers have not recognized but that institutions can identify through the work of their faculty as experts in the field?
  4. Who are the stakeholders that should be included in the microcredentialing process, and how should institutions build a strong governance model?
  5. How can microcredentialing programs be intentionally and strategically integrated in the curriculum design processes?

     Key Questions—Assessment

  1. How do we measure the efficacy of microcredentials in this evolving landscape?
  2. What are the standards that institutions, employers, faculty, and learners need to agree upon to create transparent and relevant pathways for career?
  3. How will competencies and skills be assessed and validated by both institutions and employers?
  4. How will the institution and student signal the completion of the microcredential?
  5. How can the evaluation process drive a cycle of continuous improvement to generate microcredentialing programs that are up-to-date and aligned to the market needs?

Determining what success looks like and to whom was found to be different, depending on stakeholder perspectives. For example, commonly used but equivalent words for students was “affordable”; for employers, “meet a specific workplace need that directly support industry job roles and job descriptions that are in demand”; for faculty, “engagement”; for administration, “meet a specific workforce development need”; and for accreditors, “quality assurance.”

Two key conclusions:

  • “Institutions and employers should base their microcredential partnership on key values and standards such as transparency, validation, recognition, and reward of skills.”
  • Assessing and evaluating microcredentials will require rapid prototyping with inclusive feedback loops from students, faculty, and employers. Microcredentials have shorter lifecycles and therefore continuous evaluation of key performance indicators and lead measures are critical.”

Reference

Downs, L. (29 September 2022). WICHE WCET Blog. https://wcet.wiche.edu/frontiers/2022/09/29/assessment-evaluation-of-microcredentials-what-success-looks-like-and-to-whom/

KEY COMPONENTS

STAKEHOLDER GROUPS

INITIATIVE LAUNCH YEAR

2022

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