Innovative Credentials

AACRAO is a long-standing champion in the advancement of Innovative Credentials overall and the Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) in particular, having collaboratively developed pilots, guidelines, and best practices that expand the idea of the traditional record. Through past Lumina Foundation grants, a current grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and a new grant from the Walmart Foundation, AACRAO continues to be a leader in the development and adoption of CLR in American higher education.

Additionally, AACRAO is working to promote awareness and advance knowledge around the Learning and Employment Record (LER), a system that contains verifiable information about a person’s achievements spanning an inclusive range of contexts to include the CLR, the higher education component of the LER, that provides verified credentials representing the skills and competencies achieved by the student during their academic career.

AACRAO will support higher education contributions of robust learning to the overall Innovative Credential work, which includes supporting:

  • Digital Credentials
  • Alternative Credentials
  • Micro-Credentials
  • The Comprehensive Learner Record
  • The Learning and Employment Record
  • Extended Transcripts
  • and others

by putting forth recommendations for academic record practices that protect the integrity and validity of these expressions of learner achievement, supporting the principles of interoperability and student-centered records, and continuing to seek collaboration and innovation partners.

Get Involved with Innovative Credentials

Join the Community of Practice

The AACRAO Exchange Innovative Credentials Community connects higher education professionals to learn from each other, share insights and best practices, and support the development and implementation of innovative credentials.

AACRAO Resources

AACRAO Supported Resources

Innovative Credentials News:

UPCEA has announced the members of The Council for Credential Innovation (CCI), a body for senior leaders driving non-degree credential strategy at the unit or campus level, and key thought leaders from nonprofit organizations and companies actively contributing to developing the alternative credential space. Congratulations to all the council members for their work and innovation in credentialing. 


AACRAO wants to highlight AACRAO members Karen Battyle, Mark McConahay, Noah Geisel, Shawn Miller, and Doris Savron and invite all council members to continue the conversation in the Innovative Credentials Community of Practice in the AACRAO Exchange.  

Join the Exchange

National Reach
AACRAO's efforts to advance CLR have helped institutions across the United States. The 2021 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation enables additional institutions to be supported and further contributes to the knowledge resources for CLR adoption and best practices.

CLR Map Vertical (1200 × 3500 px)

External Resources


AACRAO Innovative Credentials News

Innovative Credentials News Outside of AACRAO

Why Registrars Need the CLR

An April 5, 2023 Territorium blog post: Why collegiate registrars should advocate for (and implement) CLRs in place of traditional transcripts.

Addressing Failures of Implementation

A January 30, 2023 Inside Higher Ed Beyond Transfer blog post: Addressing Failure of Implementation - Supporting and promoting innovation on campus.

Creating a National LER: How 1EdTech Can Help Get Us There

A recent white paper lays out recommendations to create a successful national LER ecosystem. Read the takeaways on how 1EdTech can help you get started with digital credentials.

Mapping the LER ecosystem to Drive Adoption and Collaboration in Service of Learners and Earners

Digital Credentials Consortium and NationSwell working with stakeholders to identify barriers and opportunities

The text "AACRAO Connect" with a wifi logo emanating from the "O" in "Connect".

Modernizing Credit Evaluation for a Mobile Generation

Jun 25, 2024

Introducing the LEARN Commission

Understanding the Future of Credentials - Credential Chats

Jan 5, 2024

Take part in the Digital Credential conversation and join our weekly live Q&A Credentials Chat.

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Innovative Credentials Are a Win for Learners

Nov 13, 2023

Learning Mobility, digital credentials, and this year's Convergence conference in Washington D.C.

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Volunteer and Work on the Leading Edge of Education Credentials

Nov 10, 2023

Co-design, test, and offer solutions for credential evaluation and support.

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Navigating Digital Credentials

Sep 18, 2023

Join the conversation around digital credential implementation at higher education institutions.

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Navigating the Future: Incorporating New Digital Credentials into the Student Information System (SIS)

Sep 18, 2023

Understanding, planning for, and implementing digital credentials at your institution.

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Resources to Guide the Establishment of Interoperable LERs

May 15, 2023

See how AACRAO and others are experimenting and leading the way in the design, development, and implementation of CLR/LER.

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The CLR, “Experience You,” and an Opportunity for All

Mar 20, 2023

Understanding, building upon, and improving the student record to increase student success.

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Expanding the CLR/LER Ecosystem

Mar 6, 2023

See how AACRAO is pushing the conversation forward in the CLR/LER space.

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The Transformation of the Academic Record: Amplifying the CLR/LER

Feb 6, 2023

CLR/LER is growing, see the work and learn how you can get involved.

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HR Professionals Eyeing the CLR

Jan 9, 2023

See how the comprehensive learner record can be used as a tool for your recruitment and hiring initiatives.

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The Drumbeat Grows Louder: CLR/LER is the Future of Academic Record Practices

Nov 28, 2022

Catch up on all the CLR/LER updates happening in the higher education community, view resources, and get involved.

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Updates from the Credential Futures Coalition

Oct 31, 2022

See how the Credential Futures Coalition is working to develop a scalable, resilient, and sustainable ecosystem to support learner-worker mobility.

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Growing & Supporting CLR/LER

Sep 19, 2022

See how AACRAO is partnering with two higher ed institutions to finalize their CLR initiatives.

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Championing the Registrar in CLR/LER

Aug 22, 2022

Explore CLR and see the work AACRAO and other organizations are doing to ensure this initiative is successful.

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Leading the CLR Conversation

Jul 25, 2022

The latest efforts from AACRAO and the higher education community working to advance the CLR.

Adult learners in a classroom working on laptops.

Capture - Record - Communicate. Advancing CLR.

May 31, 2022

Learn about the changes and efforts being made to implement and advance CLR at institutions.

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CLR Implementation Guide Released

Dec 27, 2021

AACRAO releases implementation guide for IMS Global Comprehensive Learner Record Standard.

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Identify and Promote Pathways to Quality Credentials

Nov 29, 2021

Learn about the Midwest Credential Transparency Alliance and the work being done to develop and promote pathways to high-quality credentials.

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New C&U - Researchers Seek Student Input on Design of Comprehensive Learner Records

Aug 23, 2021

Latest C&U issue covers topics in comprehensive learner records, job satisfaction, international credential evaulation, and more.

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Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) Phase II Report Is Out Now

Jun 28, 2021

Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) Phase II Report is out now and available for download.

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Comprehensive Learner Record to the Rescue! Transforming Student Learning to Skills

Jun 1, 2021

The Comprehensive Learner Record doesn't just verify student learning - it can prepare them for the workforce too.

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Utilizing Student Data to Inform Classroom Pedagogy

Apr 3, 2021

Annual Meeting presenters discuss the importance of using data to facilitate and expand the faculty-student relationship.

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AACRAO Consulting Partnership - Parchment Award CLR Services

Mar 22, 2021

AACRAO Consulting is partnering with Parchment CLR Services to enable higher education institutions to develop and deploy CLR.

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Parchment Award CLR Services - Enabling Higher Education Institutions

Mar 8, 2021

Implementing, designing, and issuing Comprehensive Learn Records (CLR) with Parchment.

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AACRAO hosts final showcase on Comprehensive Learner Records

Jan 11, 2021

Join the free virtual event: January 26 and 27.

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Survey: What role could a comprehensive learner record play in college admissions?

Nov 28, 2020

Enrollment and admissions directors, how useful are verified, machine readable digital credentials?

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New CLR Roundtable series kicks off

Jul 9, 2020

An open monthly forum for institutional leaders to discuss and get advice on implementing a comprehensive learner record.

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AACRAO recommends IMS Global Learning Consortium digital standard

May 18, 2020

Standardization and interoperability to support students.

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The other reason students want Comprehensive Learner Records

Nov 18, 2019

Webinar: Discover student-centric approaches to CLRs, like creating a clearer path to degree.

Comprehensive Learner Record2

A competency-based educational record: What is standard?

Sep 10, 2019

CBE may not result in grades as we traditionally recognize them, but rather outcomes. How do we record that?

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Join the national conversation: The Learner Record Index

Mar 18, 2019

A conversation on why a national LRI is critical for supporting higher education today and in the future.

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4 questions about data integration on campus

Jul 20, 2018

Challenges and solutions to creating better records from multiple data sources.

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Credential Engine improves credential transparency, literacy, and decision-making

May 18, 2018

Institutions can create a free account to publish all types of credentials in a common language on a cloud-based Registry, allowing institutions to better understand what sets them apart. Learn how.

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Applications are open for the Comprehensive Learner Records (CLR) project

Feb 27, 2018

AACRAO and NASPA invite colleges, universities, and systems interested in developing and implementing CLRs to apply.

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What it means to be an "Engaged Scholar in Critical Thinking"

Nov 29, 2016

A pilot student record badge that certifies critical thinking in a community context.

Photograph of a generic transcript.

SmartScript: A model competency-based transcript

Nov 23, 2016

UW-Extension and UW Colleges develop comprehensive transcript pilot for CBE degree programs.

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Tracking students' emotional development

Nov 1, 2016

How Dillard University's extended transcript is raising the emotional sophistication of the entire campus.

A student looks on as an instructor demonstrates how to use a drill press.

Documenting and validating learning outside the classroom

Sep 20, 2016

IUPUI Student Records and Student Affairs partnering to formally recognize out-of-classroom learning

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A comprehensive record for competency-based education

Aug 23, 2016

Brandman University's pilot project.

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The 'gamification' of education

Aug 9, 2016

LaGuardia Community College's digital badging project helps keep students committed to college.

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One community college's exemplary co-curricular transcript

Jul 26, 2016

A strategy to increase engagement and participation beyond the classroom at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

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One institution's stellar comprehensive student record

Jul 18, 2016

The tools, infrastructure, training, funding, and steps necessary to implement a holistic learning document.

Female student smiling as she studies in a room with floor to ceiling windows.

Assessing and documenting beyond-the-classroom learning

Jun 27, 2016

USC's model cocurricular transcript will help the institution assess the success of experiential learning programs.

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A record of lifelong learning

May 31, 2016

UMUC's comprehensive transcript aims for portability, dynamism and longevity.

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A student record a student can love

Apr 19, 2016

Stanford's pilot comprehensive student record is not for academics.

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Growing student records beyond the traditional transcript

Mar 7, 2016

Elon University's visual representation of cocurricular experiences.

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