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How digital badging by competency promotes the college-to-career path

April 6, 2015

Transcripts, certificates, and the like serve as the most commonly-accepted proof that a college graduate has met the graduation criteria of their program of study.

While it is a fairly common practice for employers to accept such documents as proof that a recent graduate is qualified for a job opening, this process has a lot of room for improvement. The items below represent the top 3 reasons how digital badging by competency can offer more precise, robust, and useful data concerning the job readiness of a recent graduate:

  1. Transcripts Are General – Transcripts and certificates lack granularity and “targeted” specificity. Lists of course titles on a transcript (e.g., Front Office Administration, Customer Service Skills) or a program of study (e.g., Medical Assisting) on a certificate are not granular enough to help gauge whether the student’s coursework maps to specific job knowledge or skills. Additionally, they are expressed in academic terms, rather than in hiring terms. Competency badges are awarded for job skills and based on the demonstration of mastery, which means that employers can be confident that the results are granular and specific to the skills that they value most.
  2. Grade Inflation – GPAs are subjective and grade inflation is very real, which means that maintaining the minimum GPA required for graduation may not be an accurate indicator of competence. Participation points, effort, homework, and extra credit can inflate a student’s GPA, even if they have not mastered the skills that will help them succeed in their future profession. Competency badges that are awarded for demonstrating job skills through scenario-based assessment are more valid indicators of a student’s job-readiness.
  3. Inconsistency of Learning Hurts Everyone – Since the same certificate can be awarded to students with different learning experiences, badging by competency forges a direct connection between a student’s college experience and the workplace skills needed to qualify for employment. Thus, an employer can trust a badge more than a brand name.  Student transcripts often mask skills and abilities. Trusted badging highlights a graduate’s ability to perform job tasks.

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