7 formal recommendations on international student data portability

May 16, 2017
  • AACRAO Connect
  • International Admissions and Credential Evaluation
Photo of people smiling around a dinner table in what appears to be a private residence.

AACRAO International participated in the Groningen Declaration Network Symposium on Credential Evaluation Professional Issues hosted at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in April 2017. The Symposium brought together experts from ten countries in the field of both foreign credential evaluation and digital student data portability to put forth recommendations to the Groningen Declaration Network (GDN). The GDN is an international network of like-minded organizations working to improve and standardize student data portability. 

Developing standards

As part of the pre-Symposium, the AACRAO International team contributed two white papers outlining the need for the development of standards, best practices and common language surrounding digital student data portability and the evaluation of digital data. The first white paper, co-authored with Erik Johannsson of the Swedish Council for Higher Education*, surveyed a number of different approaches to electronic student data management. Specific models surveyed include Sweden, Ukraine, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the United States.

The authors noted that online database differences presents challenges, reconciling different countries':

  • funding models,
  • administrative models,
  • privacy and access models, and
  • legal considerations.  

Read the white paper "Identifying the Challenges of Differences in Models of Online Databases" here.

Best practices: Article 26 backpack

The second white paper focused on the use of a digital student data ecosystem, the Article 26 Backpack that would assist in facilitating access to higher education and training opportunities for displaced learners. The paper outlines the necessity for:

  • a set of best practices and security protocols for digital data portability, specifically for vulnerable student populations,
  • a shared common language within the credential evaluation community,
  • the consideration of a global credential community that would be trusted source of information for global higher education institutions.

Read the white paper "A Conversation on the Expansion of the Article 26 Backpack" here.

The Article 26 Backpack project was further discussed at the general GDN Meeting by keynote speaker Adrienne Fricke, Senior Fellow with the Harvard Humanitarian Institute.

In addition to the white papers submitted by the AACRAO International team, eleven other papers were submitted and further reviewed in four working groups with the following foci: Authenticity, verification and recognition; Data elements, including shared language and shared terminology; Communication protocols/ data standards relating to security and privacy; and integration/ communication of different models and creating a global network.

7 formal recommendations

Through the working groups, formal recommendations were put forth and delivered to the Groningen Declaration Network. These recommendations outlined seven areas for development:

1. a common lexicon;

2. language;

3. the GDN to recognize credential evaluators across the globe as stakeholders;

4. digitized records should include institutional and programmatic recognition information;

5. determine trusted sources;

6. extending engagement in the GDN community; and

7. the creation of a global directory.

AACRAO International professional development opportunities 

Summer Institute for International Admissions will teach best industry practices for the evaluation of foreign credentials and its application on the job. Register now for the Institute, June 26-30 in Arlington, VA.

AACRAO International will hold a two-day International Transfer Credit Intensive designed for individuals who work with international educational records in admissions or study-abroad for the possibility of transfer credit from international institutions. Join us for the July 7-8, 2017, workshop at the New Orleans Sheraton.

After the workshop, stay for the Technology and Transfer Conference in New Orleans, July 9-11, 2017. Register now for the early bird discount.


* Johannsson's contributions are personal reflections and not the official position of the Swedish Council of Higher Education



AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter is open to members and non-members alike.