As it stands, diplomas represent degree completion and achievement, while transcripts provide a deeper level of detail as to how someone earned their degree. However, transcripts are more focused on student mobility within or between schools, and do not show a complete stock of experience gained. In fact, 46 percent of learners polled feel that the current transcript offered at their institution only “somewhat reflects the value of their education.”
Furthermore, 77.5 percent of registrars agree that students sharing digital credentials is inevitable, but only 43 percent currently share their academic and co-curricular accomplishments digitally. Largely, this is due to the lack of support from institutions in providing innovative digital credentials, say respondents.
Parchment’s plan suggests extending the reach of a transcript and staying a step ahead of the future of credentialing. As identified by their Credential Innovation Framework, there are five activities that institutions can implement to empower learners, each more important than the last:
- Go digital – put transcripts online and display diplomas, non-degree certificates, verifications, and even digital diplomas.
- Do what paper can’t – make each digital credential clickable, visual, and machine-readable for added functionality.
- Create new pathways – Enhance credential exchange to support the diverse pathways learners take across institutions on their way to a degree, ensuring portability of courses and credits to maximize degree completion success.
- Communicate more content – add competency-based, experimental, or co-curricular data to show the full impact of post secondary education.
- Make it actionable – Allow learners to store credentials in one place where information can be easily displayed in online profiles, such as professional of social networking sites.
Institutions may not have the means to take all of these steps at once, but focusing on meeting these goals over time can likely go a long way toward showing the full impact of higher education and helping students secure successful careers, concludes the whitepaper.
For greater detail on how to implement the five key steps towards credential innovation as outlined by Parchment, read the full report here.