Key questions when evaluating foreign credentials

November 29, 2016
  • AACRAO Connect
  • International Admissions and Credential Evaluation
Collage of differently colored questions marks.

AACRAO International held its first SEM Institute for International Admissions in conjunction with the AACRAO SEM Conference in San Antonio on November 7 and 8.

The 28 participants from a variety of higher education institutions around North America explored best-practice methods and principles of international credential evaluation. Topics included:
  • Fundamentals for a systematic approach to international credential evaluation, including the basic methodological concepts of Benchmarking and Year-Counting; how to award transfer credit from international institutions; and how to interpret grading scales;

  • The main educational models upon which educational systems around the world are based, and where the differences and similarities lie;

  • How to use resources – print, electronic, and web -- to determine institutional recognition (accreditation) status, document authenticity, and academic program information;

  • Considerations for forming institutional policies vis-a-vis international students and their credentials. What are your  admissions benchmarks? How do you assess academic performance (grades)? Which documents are official?

  • Fraud – what it is, how to identify it, and what to do at the institutional level should you encounter it.

Hands-on evaluations & questions to ask

Attendees spent time working in small groups reviewing actual sample documents and putting the information they learned to immediate practice. Groups focused on these questions:

  • What country is the record from?

  • Is the institution recognized? What resources would you use to determine recognition status of the institution?

  • What credential is it?

  • What words/characters define it?

  • What date was it awarded?

  • Was the applicant an appropriate age?

  • Is the format of the document acceptable?

  • What is the entry credential that grants access to this program? What does this credential grant access to?

  • What was the average grade for this student?

  • At your institution, would this student be admissible?

The combination of lectures, small group sessions, and a hands-on instructional method fostered lively discussions and gave attendees the opportunity to share and compare their institutional policies and practices, network, and learn from each other, as well as from the trainers.

Here is what attendees had to say about the training:

“I would like to see more training sessions like this!”

“The most beneficial part of the training was going over real transcripts. The examples helped tie everything together.”

“Training sessions like this are the only place where I have seen this many international specialists from different institutions. For this reason, I feel that it is one of best places to get real information regarding policy.”

Interested in more foreign credential evaluation training opportunities?

Upcoming training opportunities include our Winter Institute for International Transfer Credit, January 23-26, 2017! Register for the Institute. Space is limited!

Alternatively, consider on-site training. If you have new international admissions staff, a new international office, recruiting efforts are resulting in applicants from countries your staff is not familiar with evaluating, and your budget doesn't allow you to send all staff to off-site trainings, AACRAO International offers on-site training with unique programming tailored to the specific needs of your group--including undergraduate or graduate admissions, best practices for transfer credit and short-term programs, compliance, and record keeping.

Contact AACRAO International to discuss the best way to enhance your international staff's professional development.




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