The New Transcript

College transcripts can seem pretty bare-bones, even cryptic: Typically they’re limited to a list of courses taken and grades earned, with little detail on what the courses involved and no sign of what else the students did during their time on campus.

But more and more colleges are giving their staid transcripts a makeover. They’re using them as a place to list "learning outcomes" of courses and to log how many hours students spent on extracurricular activities and internships, and they’re jazzing up the presentation with pie charts and infographics.

Those may sound like cosmetic changes, but making them requires soul-searching by college officials about what counts as meaningful learning. And the changes could have big consequences. Transcripts embody the cultural currency of a college. They’re a ticket that can grant admission to jobs and graduate schools, and, by extension, a more prosperous and fulfilling life. With the right upgrades, proponents believe, a New Transcript could help graduates better convey to employers their qualifications, including soft skills like communication and teamwork. Plus, it’s a chance for colleges to better demonstrate their worth to the growing chorus of those questioning the value of a degree.

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/The-New-Transcript/235450