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Assessment-Based Certificate Programs: Bridging Gaps, Building Pathways

by | Assessments, Certification

Assessment-based certificate programs have emerged to fulfill an important need in workforce development. They bring together principles of instructional design, test development, and psychometrics to offer practitioners targeted and meaningful professional development opportunities. With a narrower focus on specific knowledge, skills, and abilities, assessment-based certificates can offer practitioners professional mobility and growth.

For employers, associations, and boards, assessment-based certificate programs are a lower-cost option to meet a specific workforce development need in several key ways that differ from traditional certification:

Addressing Gaps in a Certification Exam Blueprint

When you discover a hole in your wall, do you go ahead and build a whole new house? Or does it often make more sense (and save more resources) to patch the hole?

Likewise, when gaps emerge in the necessary competencies as defined by your industry stakeholders, what happens if your particular education market is not prepared to cover them? Will you have to completely overhaul your program in response?

Assessment-based certificate programs keep your foundation strong by filling in whatever cracks may emerge over time. That structural integrity helps empower organizational growth. And that growth, in turn, may reveal new opportunities.

Supporting Continuing Competency

Ideally, your practitioners will keep your credentials current for years, even decades, depending on your renewal cycles. In that time, how do you make sure that they are keeping up-to-date on things like industry best practices and changes in protocols and standards? An assessment-based certificate program can help keep all cohorts of an ongoing program current in the recertification process, no matter what letter comes after their “gen-.”

Conferring Specialization Within Certification

At times, job task analyses and stakeholder feedback may reveal opportunities for increased expertise within an industry or professional practice. Perhaps a cutting-edge technique emerges and can be combined with a practitioner’s existing credentialed skills. Or maybe a particular demographic served by your members demonstrates a new or unique need. What about specializations?

Because assessment-based certificate programs are so targeted to specific learning outcomes, they’re an ideal way to create and confer specializations. This can expand credentialing programs by augmenting already-established competencies and keeping organizations responsive to industry shifts.

Assessment-Based Certificates Offer Alternate Pathways to Professional Practice

Certification and licensure can be a multi-year, multi-stage process, one that not all prospective practitioners may feel ready to undertake. Maybe the education requirement is too expensive, or perhaps the experience requirement takes too long. To what extent does the process exclude those who may be at a different starting point or in need of a different route?

An assessment-based certificate program can engage your community at other, often earlier stages of their professional journey. You may reach many who may not have even contemplated undertaking that journey without more accessible initial steps.

Thus, a certificate based on targeted KSAs within your larger job task analysis can be a lower-investment entry point for professional practice, and can even act as a stepping stone to certification. The ability to deliver targeted, psychometrically rigorous learning opportunities allows the horizons of your profession’s qualified workforce to expand without sacrificing the quality of your credentials.

LearningBuilder is Assessment-Based Certificate Program-Ready. Are You?

Here at Heuristics, we have led the way in both the technology and credentialing best practices for over a decade. As the credentialing industry continues to evolve, we are committed to staying on the pulse of program innovation, empowering our clients to expand their programs at a pace set by the needs of their industry and community, not the limitations of their technology.

No matter what your goals are, LearningBuilder is a platform that grows with you. With LearningBuilder’s eLearning tools and Assessment Engine, we make it easy to implement an assessment-based certificate program now — or later. Schedule a call with us today to learn more.

Heuristic Solutions is a leader in software and technology for certification, licensure, and accreditation. Partner with us today, and we’ll modernize your system to better serve your organization.


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