Why does the pan-Canadian assessment community need Assessment 101?
In Canada, there is no educational program tailored to the academic credential assessment profession. As a result, all assessors in Canada are trained on the job (a process that can take one-and-a-half to two years). Given the diversity of the organizations, large and small, that perform assessments in Canada, many do not have the in-house capacity to train new assessors.
Assessment 101 is an on-line distance-education course specifically designed for the assessment community. It provides participants with:
- a common framework, especially for new assessors, within the Canadian context;
- an overview of the foundations of international academic credential assessment;
- instruction in core competencies relevant to all assessors, regardless of the nature of their organization;
- a supplement to on-the-job training; and
- structured opportunities for mentorship and knowledge transfer from experienced assessors.
Assessment 101 is one of a number of initiatives within the Building Bridges project, whose ultimate goals are to:
- help internationally trained individuals integrate into Canada's labour market; and
- facilitate the admission of international students to Canadian educational institutions.
Developing the on-line course content
The course content was developed in 2014 by experts from the assessment community (mainly academic credential assessment services, educational institutions, and professional regulatory authorities).
CICIC is grateful for the contribution of the following experts:
- Michel Bédard, Analyst in international education, Direction de l'authentification, de l'évaluation professionnelle et de la révision administrative, ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion du Québec;
- Doug McBean – formerly the Senior Policy Advisor, Admissions and Awards, University of Toronto;
- Deborah Wolfe – Managing Director, National Committee on Accreditation, and Director of Law School Programs, Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
Themes covered in Assessment 101
The course is divided into three modules exploring 17 different topics:
Module 1: Overview of International Credential Assessment
- What is academic credential assessment and why do we need it?
- Guiding principles in academic credential assessment;
- Substantial differences in academic credential assessment;
- Terminology used in academic credential assessment.
Module 2: How to Assess Academic Credentials?
- Understanding the different purposes of academic credential assessment;
- Risk and exceptions to document-requirement rules;
- Accuracy of translation of documents;
- System of education in the country of origin;
- Recognition of credentials from the country of origin;
- Types and purposes of credentials within the country of origin;
- Purposes of evaluating curricula;
- Academic performance and grade equivalence;
- Length of studies;
- Types of decisions depending on purpose of assessment.
Module 3: Research and Resources
- Identifying primary resources;
- Relying on secondary resources;
- Using precedents.
The course promotes best practices in assessment and recognition as outlined in the Pan-Canadian Quality Assurance Framework for the Assessment of International Academic Credentials (QAF) and is rooted in the principles of the Lisbon Recognition Convention.
Instructors of the first cohort
Instructors guided course attendees through the different modules. They provided:
- advice on practice issues;
- advice and feedback on assignments;
- insights based on their own experiences;
- guidance and leadership on discussions, both in-person at the two-day workshop and on discussion boards.
CICIC is grateful for the contributions of the four instructors who assisted CICIC in delivering the initial pilot in spring 2015:
A collaboration among various stakeholders
CICIC has undertaken a number of important initiatives through the Building Bridges project, including those that support consistency and portability, such as Assessment 101.
The development and delivery of this course was made possible through collaboration among:
- experts from the pan-Canadian academic credential assessment community, as subject-matter experts and/or participants;
- the University of Manitoba's Centre for Higher Education Research and Development (CHERD), which hosted the spring 2015 on-line pilot;
- Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), which funded the spring 2015 pilot under the Foreign Credential Recognition Program (FCRP).