As the U.S. Department of Education expands efforts to foster transparency and meaningful quality assurance in the programs offered by diverse post-secondary and non-traditional education providers, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has an important role to play as an accreditor of personnel certifiers and certificate issuers. ANSI's accreditation programs adhere to proven, results-based national and international standards - aligning ANSI's process with the key aspects of what the Department of Education is requiring of a quality assurance entity (QAE).
In support of the Obama Administration's stated priority to ensure that students from every income level have access to a high-quality, affordable education, the Department of Education is reaching out to organizations in the field to help build understanding of how to recognize high-quality non-traditional programs and encourage increased innovation in higher education. Launched under the Experimental Sites Initiative, the Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) experiment seeks collaborating organizations to work towards reliable means of identifying education programs that lead to a certificate or stackable degree and provide students with relevant skills for today's economy.
The Department of Education is accepting applications for the EQUIP experiment through December 14, 2015. Proposed participants must be a postsecondary institution that partners with one or more non-traditional education providers and a quality assurance entity (QAE). The objective will be to provide a structure for innovative ways of reviewing and monitoring the quality of the program with an increased focused on evidence of learning and employment outcomes [see Federal Register notice for complete details]. This greater transparency, along with ongoing quality improvement, will help students, employers, and all those evaluating educational offerings separate high-quality programs from those lacking valuable outcomes.
According to a Department of Education blog post, "Outcomes, in this vision of the future, are clear claims for student learning, move beyond mere statements of knowledge to what students can do with that knowledge, and are measurable."
Globally recognized as a quality assurance entity (QAE), ANSI provides accreditation services that support the quality and validation of education and training programs. Through its Certificate Accreditation Program (ANSI-CAP), ANSI accredits assessment-based education and training programs against the American National Standard ASTM E2659. This standard establishes guidelines for quality certificate program development and administration, and forms the foundation for a recognition system that enables consumers, employers, government agencies, and others to distinguish between qualified workers and those with less-than-quality credentials.
In addition, ANSI accredits personnel certification bodies against the international and American National Standard ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024, the global benchmark for personnel certification. This standard is designed to provide assurance that accredited personnel certifiers are appropriately assessing the knowledge and skills possessed by professionals and have a re-certification program in place to ensure continual updating of job-related knowledge and skills.
To find out more about how ANSI can serve as a quality assurance entity (QAE) for post-secondary institutions applying for the EQUIP experiment, please contact Dr. Turan Ayvaz, senior program manager of ANSI's Certificate Accreditation Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about ANSI's complete portfolio of accreditation programs, visit the ANSI Accreditation Services website.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. Its membership is comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations. The Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 125,000 companies and organizations and 3.5 million professionals worldwide.
The Institute is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and is a U.S. representative to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).