AACRAO Issues Guidance for College Registrars and Admissions to Adopt IMS Global Learning Consortium Digital Standard for Learner Records

Dr. Tom Green |
May 5, 2020
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Washington, D. C. - The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) has issued guidance to its members to adopt the IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS Global/IMS) standard for Comprehensive Learner Record projects and products. Since 2015, a growing number of colleges and universities have developed and implemented new forms of digital student records, Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs). Developed largely as models or institutional innovations, to date, these CLRs are unique to each creator. While innovative, differences in technical format reduce the usefulness of these records when students seek to transmit their contents to employers or other higher education institutions or licensing agencies.

“It is imperative that colleges and universities follow a single data standard when creating comprehensive learner records (CLRs), so that they may be useful to our learners, as well as to any institution, agency, company or service that may need to receive and consume them in digital file formats,” said Tom Green, Associate Executive Director of AACRAO.

An AACRAO-assembled expert panel, including representatives from NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, concluded that the CLR standard from IMS is the only comprehensive data standard in place today that meets the objectives of an official institutional learning-focused and comprehensive learner record.

In September 2019, IMS Global Learning Consortium, a non-profit collaborative for learning data standards, released the first and only data standard for a CLR. IMS Global’s member organizations completed its development working with colleges and universities in the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) following developments of the CLR taking place in Phases I and II of the AACRAO-NASPA-NILOA partnership. Among its many innovative features, the standard incorporates support for the Competency Transparency Data Language (CTDL), a method for describing credential information for machine-readable applications like the Credential Engine.

According to the review panel’s report, “Postsecondary institutions of all types and at all levels that are currently using any form of micro-credentials, digital diplomas and certificates, or digital student records or other types should work to migrate that information into the IMS CLR standard. New records that are being developed should be written to this standard. Commercial software suppliers should adopt the standard as soon as possible to enable learner-controllable records in the IMS open standard”.

“The IMS community is energized about collaborating at such a deep level with AACRAO and our community partners to empower learner equity, agency, and mastery through our Digital Credentials program and the Comprehensive Learner Record,” says Dr. Rob Abel, IMS Global CEO. “Best of all, the CLR is completely interoperable across higher education, K-12, and corporate learning, thus enabling more effective collaboration across boundaries to build better lives for all learners.” The IMS CLR standard will evolve as experience and new use cases emerge over time. Early adopters and institutions committed to empowering lifelong learners can learn more at imsglobal.org/clr as well as the AACRAO website.

AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association of more than 11,000 higher education professionals representing approximately 2,600 institutions in more than 40 countries. Its commitment to the professional development of its members includes best practice guidance on admissions strategies to meet institutional diversity objectives, delivery of academic programs in innovative ways to meet the needs of a changing student body, and exemplary approaches to student retention and completion.

About IMS Global Learning Consortium
IMS Global Learning Consortium is a non-profit organization that advances technology to scale and improve educational participation and attainment affordably. IMS members are leading suppliers, higher education institutions, K-12 districts and schools, and government organizations that are enabling better teaching and learning by collaborating on interoperability and adoption initiatives. IMS sponsors the annual Learning Impact program focused on recognizing the impact of innovative technology on educational access, affordability, and quality while developing the leadership and ideas to help shape the future of educational technology.