Modernizing Credit Evaluation for a Mobile Generation

June 25, 2024
  • Learning Mobility
  • clr
  • digital credentials
  • Innovative Credentials
  • Learning Mobility
  • ler

AACRAO and Sova introduce the Learning Evaluation and Recognition for the Next Generation (LEARN) Commission, an initiative to transform how undergraduate learning is recognized and improve credit evaluation practices nationwide.

What’s the LEARN Commission All About?

The LEARN Commission is a collaborative effort that brings together leaders from higher education, accreditors, and research experts. Its mission is to create national guidelines to help colleges and universities recognize all forms of undergraduate learning and ensure that these learnings give learners credit towards degrees and credentials. This initiative will boost learning mobility, making it easier for students to navigate their educational and career pathways.

Why Now?

In today’s global economy, more Americans are seeking education and skills beyond high school. Whether transitioning from high school to college, moving into the workforce, or participating in other training programs, students are engaging in diverse learning experiences. However, a significant challenge they face is the inconsistent recognition of their credits across institutions. A study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office revealed that students lose 43% of their credits when transferring between postsecondary institutions.

Challenges in Credit Recognition

Melanie Gottlieb, AACRAO's Executive Director, highlights a significant issue: 

In the 21st century, learners access skills and training in various ways, yet our higher education practices have not kept pace. Only 25% of institutions use available technology to share transcript data, leading to a manual, time-consuming, and costly credit evaluation process. Additionally, 54% of institutions do not recognize credits for prior learning awarded elsewhere, creating significant hurdles for today’s students.

Lara Couturier, Ph.D. from Sova adds,

These lost credits and missed learning opportunities carry substantial costs. Learners face extended time to graduation and higher expenses, exacerbating inequities in educational attainment based on income and race. This inefficiency costs the U.S. economy $956 billion annually. Institutions also suffer from outdated practices that impede learning mobility.

The LEARN Commission’s Role

The LEARN Commission aims to address these challenges by evaluating and updating policies for credit transfer and recognition. Their work includes considering credits from high school dual enrollment programs, workplace learning, and military training. The Commission will explore the potential of new technologies to streamline these processes, reducing human error and bias. Gottlieb mentions, We’re particularly excited about the potential of artificial intelligence to enhance efficiency, transparency, and equity in credit evaluation.

Getting Started

The LEARN Commission, supported by AACRAO and Sova, starts its work in July 2024 and continues through November 2025. It will hold virtual meetings and conduct research to develop practical guidelines for institutions.

Meet the Commissioners

The LEARN Commission is composed of a diverse group of experts, including:

  • Dr. Marjorie Dorimé-Williams, MDRC

  • Dr. Beth Doyle, CAEL

  • Dr. Malou C. Harrison, Miami Dade College

  • Ms. Emily Kittrell, NISTS

  • Dr. Samuel Lee, Norco College

  • Dr. Alexandra W. Logue, CUNY Graduate Center

  • Dr. Alexei Matveev, SACSCOC

  • Ms. Cassandra Moore, Anne Arundel Community College

  • Ms. Sarah C. Muller, Ohio State University

  • Dr. Hironao Okahana, ACE

  • Dr. Heather F. Perfetti, Middle States Commission on Higher Education

  • Ms. Julia Pomerenk, University of Oregon

  • Dr. Carolyn Sherlet Gentle-Genitty, Butler University

  • Ms. Jamienne Studley, WASC Senior College and University Commission

  • Dr. Janie Valdés, FIU Connect4Success, Florida International University

Moving Forward

As we embark on this journey with the LEARN Commission, we look forward to creating a more efficient, equitable, and transparent system for credit evaluation. This initiative, part of the Beyond Transfer project, is generously supported by the Ascendium Education Group. Stand by for updates as the Commission works to create a more mobile and inclusive learning environment.


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