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Aurora Institute

Create Meaningful Qualifications

States can ensure that diplomas and certifications provide an assurance that students are ready for the next step in life.

Summary

In the current K-12 education system, a high school diploma minimally signifies that a student was awarded credit for academic subjects by meeting seat-time requirements and receiving a passing grade. There is wide variability in preparedness by students who hold a high school diploma; it signals very little about what they know and can do. Meaningful qualifications focus on the knowledge, skills, and competencies a student has earned based on evidence of mastery. These qualifications are directly linked to the needs of higher education and the workforce. Coherent education systems designed around meaningful qualifications hold promise to motivate students by clearly linking studies with tangible outcomes.

Recommendations

  • Policymakers can study other states’ and countries’ qualification frameworks and consider opportunities in the state to align and improve K-12, higher education, and workforce qualifications.
  • States can convene education stakeholders to redefine student success with a comprehensive profile of a graduate based on the knowledge and skills that students need for success in college, career, and civic life.
Related COntent

Report

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Current to Future State: Issues and Action Steps for State Policy to Support Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

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Report

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Fit for Purpose: Taking the Long View on Systems Change and Policy to Support Competency Education

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Issue Brief

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Redefining Student Success: Profile of a Graduate

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