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Stackable Credentials: Addressing the Challenges


April 9, 2014


Stackable Credentials: Addressing the Challenges

A new publication from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) reviews the challenges that states and schools face in developing stackable credentials and strategies that can overcome these challenges.

According to author Evelyn Ganzglass, to grow stackable credentials, states and institutions need to address policy and structural barriers when it comes to awarding credit, ensuring financial aid and aligning disparate stakeholders. Using examples from around the nation, the authors recommend five strategies for developing stackable credentials:

  • Modularize applied associate degree and technical diploma programs that already exist
  • Work industry-recognized certifications into secondary and postsecondary programs
  • Develop and scale processes for awarding credit for prior and workforce learning
  • Create not just laddered but also latticed credentials that allow maximum maneuverability
  • Expand dual enrollment

Programs profiled include Career Pathways Certificates of Completion in Oregon, which include credit sequences contained within associate of applied science degrees; Oregon's Rogue Community College and its Basic Health Care certificate program; programs in Kentucky and Virginia to award credit for workplace learning; crosswalks between courses and industry certifications in Wisconsin; and Milwaukee Area Technical College's IT program.

In addition, CLASP recently put out a call for competency-based credentialing.

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