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ANSI Highlights How Standards and Accreditation Strengthen Credentialing at National Science Foundation Event

05/16/2016

As part of its ongoing efforts to support national STEM education and initiatives, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently participated in a National Science Foundation (NSF)–sponsored workshop entitled “Measuring and Credentialing Design Competencies as a Pathway to Higher Education and STEM Careers.” Vijay Krishna, Ed.D., director, personnel credentialing accreditation programs at ANSI, served as a panelist during a session on “Obstacles and Barriers to the Development and Acceptance of a Universally Accepted and Transferable Credit.”

During the April panel—co-moderated by Craig Scott, Ph.D. and J. Kemi Ladeji-Osias, Ph.D., of Morgan State University; and Maureen Reyes of the College Board—Dr. Krishna gave an overview of ANSI’s accreditation roles and responsibilities in the U.S. standardization system, and noted examples of national and international credentialing standards such as ISO/IEC TS 17027: Conformity assessment: Vocabulary related to competence of persons used for certification of persons; ASTM E2849 — Standard Practice for Professional Certification Testing and the ANSI/IACET Standard for continuing education and training, among others.

Dr. Krishna’s presentation, “Increasing the Credibility and Quality of Credentials through Standards and Accreditation,” detailed how the American National Standard ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 sets the bar around the world for quality in personnel certification by:

  • Ensuring fairness and equity for the applicants;

  • Ensuring that the examination reflects valid standards of practice and that those standards are measured by a fair, valid, and reliable examination and are continually assessed through a re-certification process;

  • Ensuring that individuals who pass SHOULD pass, and that failing individuals SHOULD fail;

  • Taking away certification from individuals who are found to be unethical and/or incompetent;

  • Ensuring a process that facilitates continued competence.

ANSI accredits two types of credentialing programs. Accreditation under its personnel certification program is based upon ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons (or the conference for food protection (CFP) accreditation standard for food managers). Accreditation under its certificate program is based upon ANSI/ASTM E2659-09, Standard Practice for Certificate Programs. In both instances, ANSI’s accreditation process adheres to ISO/IEC 17011, the international standard defining quality third-party accreditation practices.

Dr. Krishna also noted the importance of certificates, which are the fastest-growing postsecondary credential awarded over the past several decades. Over one million certificates were awarded in 2010–up from 300,000 in 1994, for example. [For related information, see the ANSI accreditation and certification website].

Dr. Krishna described how ANSI is participating as a Quality Assessment Entity (QAE) in the Department of Education’s (DOE) Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) in order to accelerate and evaluate innovation through partnerships between colleges and universities and non-traditional providers of education in order to equip more Americans with the skills, knowledge, and training required for competitive jobs. The Obama administration launched the EQUIP pilot program last year in order to provide low-income students with access to new models of education and training.

Dr. Krishna also noted how ANSI-affiliated Workcred and Workcred-affiliated Credential Transparency Initiative serve to help industry to determine which credentials have market value.

“I am hopeful that ANSI will play a bigger role in supporting ongoing efforts to support national STEM education through standards and assessment of learning outcomes” he said.


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