Pearson VUE Supports Workcred on the Critical Importance of Using Data to Obtain Information about the Outcomes of Certifications with a Free Webinar in February 2023
Despite their prevalence in the workforce, there is no complete, centralized source of data on the outcomes or impact of certifications. While there have been isolated efforts to collect this data by several U.S. states, as well as self-reported data from certification bodies, outcomes data are fragmented and incomplete. To help provide the much-needed transparency for certifications, Workcred and partner certification bodies are working to match data from certification service providers, educational attainment and enrollment data from universities, and aggregate wage data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The initiative’s overarching goal is to create a public-private data infrastructure that connects industry-recognized credentials (e.g., certifications, licenses, and certificates) to educational attainment and earnings data as well as to aggregate labor-market outcomes to better understand successful career and credential pathways into the workforce. The ultimate aim is to demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of certifications.
Founded in 2014, Workcred is a non-profit affiliate of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that focuses on strengthening workforce quality by improving the credentialing system, ensuring its ongoing relevance, and helping employers, workers, educators, and governments better understand the value of certification. Workcred got involved in this initiative because certifications are frequently misunderstood by policymakers, funders of research, state officials, consumers of certifications, and education and training providers. One of the challenges to improving understanding is the lack of data about outcomes or impacts on individuals who hold a certification. In addition, there is a growing need to understand the role of certifications in career and credentialing pathways, including the impact on wages, which can help the certification bodies serve both candidates and employers more effectively.
As an industry leader and the world’s largest provider of certification and licensure exams, Pearson VUE recognizes the importance of this initiative to our clients as well as past and future candidates. Through this initiative, we can provide valuable information to a process that will improve the learning to earning pathway for millions of candidates in the future. It is an initiative that, once implemented, will provide immediate and measurable benefits for all parties involved.
To answer why this initiative is so important to the testing industry, we have complied a series of frequently asked questions to assist you in understanding why this initiative, and your support of it, is so important.
Q: What problem is this initiative trying to solve?
A: There is no complete, centralized source of data on the outcomes or impact of certifications in the United States. While there have been isolated efforts to collect this data by individual states, as well as self-reported data from certification bodies, outcomes data are fragmented and incomplete. If this information could be made available to certification sponsors, they could better understand the journey their candidates are making from initial education and training, through their credentialing pathways, and eventually into the workforce. Without third-party data to demonstrate the value of certifications in building a quality workforce, certifications may not be considered in federal and state workforce initiative policy decisions that are often associated with the funding to support credentials of value.
Q: What are the benefits for credentialing bodies that participate in this initiative?
A: Participating credentialing bodies are able to match their individual credential attainment data with higher education enrollment and degree attainment data. The results are returned to the credentialing bodies in a person-level detail file, including program of study and institutions of enrollment. In addition, an aggregate-level report that provides insights into the education, credentialing, and earnings outcomes of certificants is created. The aggregate report provides information about the academic institutions where certificants were enrolled, the most common programs of study, the highest education credentials attained, and demographic information. In addition, aggregate labor-market outcomes from the Census Bureau are analyzed and produced to give credentialing bodies a much more robust sense of how their credential-earners are performing in the labor market. This data also can be used to improve visibility and enhance credibility of the credential, inform strategic planning and marketing, and understand the career pathways of credential earners.
Q: What is Workcred, and why is it involved in this initiative?
A: Founded in 2014, Workcred is a non-profit affiliate of the American National Standards Institute. Workcred focuses on strengthening workforce quality by improving the credentialing system, ensuring its ongoing relevance, and preparing employers, workers, educators, and governments to use it effectively. One of Workcred’s strategic priorities is to educate stakeholders about quality as a differentiator of credentials and/or provide means (metrics) by which stakeholders can make judgments about credential value. As a result, Workcred is very interested in developing and supporting initiatives that provide outcomes data about certifications.
Workcred got involved in this initiative because certifications are frequently misunderstood by policymakers, funders of research, state officials, consumers of certifications, and education and training providers. One of the challenges to improving understanding is that there is no complete, centralized source of administrative data on the outcomes or impacts of certifications. In addition, there is a growing need to understand the role of certifications in career and credentialing pathways, including the impact on wages, which can help the certification bodies serve their clients better.
Q: What is the National Student Clearinghouse and why did the organization get involved in this initiative?
A: Founded in 1993 by the higher education community, the Clearinghouse relieves the administrative burden and costs related to student data reporting and exchange. The Clearinghouse is a non-profit and leading provider of educational reporting, data exchange, verification, and research services. Education leaders rely on the Clearinghouse’s unique national student data resources to better understand student pathways and outcomes in order to help students succeed.
This initiative allows the Clearinghouse to add industry-recognized credentials to its national student data resources to expand the understanding of successful career and credential pathways and outcomes, from education to workforce. This expanded reporting will inform education leaders, policy makers, credentialing bodies, accreditors, and eventually, parents and students about the variety of pathways that lead to an individual’s success.
Q: How will industry credential attainment information help educational institutions?
A: From K-12 to postsecondary education and from corporations to governmental agencies, stakeholders across the spectrum in the workforce community are clamoring for industry credential attainment information, particularly when those successful outcomes can be used for metrics related to program performance and student outcomes, or related to higher education performance funding formulas used by at least 36 U.S. states.
To learn more about this work and the importance of outcomes data, we invite you to register to attend a free webinar hosted by Pearson VUE and Workcred on Febrary 14, 2023, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. U.S. Central Time. Please visit pearson.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_YqGvp7lwQmqXNFZbF3XOWA to register.