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WASHINGTON—Lumina Foundation is convening a new Quality Credentials Task Force comprising 20 leaders in education, policy, and workforce development to explore new ways to assure the quality of a college education and other forms of learning beyond high school. The group will meet periodically, starting with a two-day launch meeting that begins today.
The task force will inform Lumina’s strategic thinking on the rapidly changing environments for work and learning. The group will explore the implications of these changes for defining and assessing the quality of college degrees and other credentials earned after high school.
Lumina will rely on the task force to guide its work within postsecondary education as the broader field strives to build a more contemporary and integrated system of quality assurance. Lumina believes this system should support increasing attainment rates nationally while assuring the quality of credentials, and fairness in access to quality credentials for African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians. For decades, persistent inequities have caused students of color to earn credentials at rates far lower than among white students.
“We are excited to learn from this impressive group of experts, all of whom are committed to advancing the goals of providing high-quality educational opportunity and advancing racially and economically just outcomes for individuals and society,” said Debra Humphreys, Lumina’s vice president for strategic engagement. “At Lumina, we want to expand access to credentials of value in today’s world—that is, credentials that open doors to economic opportunity, social mobility, and full civic participation. To effectively meet these demands, every program that leads to a post-high school credential should provide clarity about what students will learn. And every credential should give people the capacity to find meaningful work, grow and learn on the job, and pursue further education.”
Lumina created this task force with the recognition that, while many individuals are earning quality degrees or other credentials, pernicious inequities persist in access to and success across academic programs. Moreover, even when individuals earn credentials, assessment studies and employer surveys show that many graduates lack the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. A disproportionate share of people of color lack access to quality learning experiences and the meaningful credentials that signify completion of rigorous learning programs.
The need to update our systems to address these inequities is urgent. Today, systems that govern providers of higher learning, assure the quality of programs, and even those that track the success of students rely on outdated assumptions. Lumina will rely on these outside advisors and others in the field to move toward a new learning system that better meets people’s needs.