Alternative Credentials    

UMUC Pilots Extended Transcripts

Traditional transcripts provide basic information about the courses students took: course names, dates of the course, credit earned, and grades.  What traditional transcripts don’t provide is more in-depth information on the skills students learned and their competency in these skills.  In Fall 2016, the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) piloted a digital “extended transcript” to better reflect student’s progress and competency of defined learning outcomes.  UMUC is one of twelve institutions around the country to take part in a $1.27 million Lumina Foundation grant to participate in the Comprehensive Student Record Project, a partnership between the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, to develop different models to track students’ academic progress.

For UMUC, the goal is to offer a digital record of students’ competencies that allows employers to understand the skills and knowledge that potential employees have gained through their college experience.  Instead of a static transcript, employers would be able to view artifacts that reflect students’ outcomes and knowledge and see how students’ activities outside their majors apply towards the skills desired by employers.  The extended transcript allows students and employers to focus on the outcomes students gained by taking particular courses and to see evidence of students’ competencies and skills – in essence, helping employers make the connection between the work potential employees have done and the skills gained through their college education and the skills they are looking for in their workplace.

In the future, the extended transcript would allow students to highlight the parts of their transcript that demonstrate the skills and competencies needed for a particular job they are seeking.  UMUC has created a prototype that shows the academic objectives that students have mastered and evidence of what students have accomplished.  As the prototype is refined, determinations need to be made on the type of data that is made available and how it should be presented so it provides value and insight for employers and allows students to demonstrate the skills they have learned that can be applied to the workplace.  A successful extended transcript will help students and employers connect skills gained in college with the skills needed in the workforce.

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