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ANSI Certificate Accreditation Program Helps Drive Success of Competency-based Education Initiatives, Says Center for American Progress

A June 2012 issue brief from the Center for American Progress states that competency-based education can provide quality, affordable, postsecondary education to millions of Americans. But first, policymakers, institution leaders, and education and credentialing stakeholders need to come together on the requirements for this approach to education and credentialing.

According to the brief's author, Louis Soares, "Competency-based education is an outcomes-based approach to education where the emphasis is on what comes out of postsecondary education—what graduates know and can do—rather than what goes into the curriculum."

The brief goes on to cite the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and its Certificate Accreditation Program (ANSI-CAP) as one example of how the credentialing community has already risen to this challenge.

Launched in 2009, ANSI-CAP accredits organizations that issue education and training certificates to the U.S. workforce. The program is the first of its kind to offer a formal, third-party process for review and recognition of quality certificate programs. ANSI-CAP provides neutral, third-party attestation that a given certificate program meets ASTM E2659-09, Standard Practice for Certificate Programs, an American National Standard developed by ASTM International. By demonstrating compliance to this standard, accredited certificate programs further the development of a well-educated and qualified workforce, a chief goal of the Obama Administration.

"Until now, this sector of the education world, which offers these certificates, has lacked any type of quality control. Competency-based education can start to take off once initiatives such as [ANSI's] build out and scale the usage of these standards and competencies," wrote Soares.

ANSI-CAP follows the accreditation process outlined in the international standard ISO/IEC 17011, General Requirements for Accreditation Bodies Accrediting Conformity Assessment Bodies. This process includes using specially trained assessors to review documents submitted by applicants against defined requirements, conduct on-site assessments, and make recommendations to the ANSI-CAP Accreditation Committee that is responsible for making the accreditation decisions.

There are currently nineteen organizations that have received accreditation under ANSI-CAP.

Questions about ANSI-CAP can be directed to Turan Ayvaz, program manager, Certificate Accreditation Program ([email protected]; 202.331.3635).


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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