About ED OFFICES


OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
Current Section
U.S. Denmark Partnership for Vocational Education
ICT


The rise of the "knowledge economy", the globalization of work, the trend towards projects as the governing mode for work, the "new employment contract" that pushes workers to be loyal to their profession rather than an individual company, the drive from government and employers alike to measure the return on investment of education and training and the need for portable credentials to facilitate worker mobility have contributed to the growing use of certification and assessment systems to increase organizational competence, improve productivity and achieve business and education goals.

At the US-Danish Steering Committee meeting on November 16, 2001 it was proposed that a project be initiated to address the perceived lack of assessment and accreditation in the ICT sector that could be the basis for a shared common framework for aligning and improving workplace preparation systems.

Issues identified at the meeting were:

  1. A common challenge facing both the Danish and American education systems is the continually changing demand by the labor market for current ICT competencies in a number of sectors and

  2. The perceived lack of a system of vendor-neutral assessments and certifications of ICT competencies that provide the individual career-builder with credentials that support the increased labor market need for global mobility and industry requirement for certified competencies.

The Steering Committee identified three desired outcomes for the project:

  1. Develop Assessments. Activities and deliverables may include the collection and analysis of existing assessment instruments. Develop assessment instrument to measure ICT competencies/standards. Validate with international industry and education representatives.

  2. Assessment/Credentials System. Explore the feasibility of creating a system that has capability to manage the administration of a credentialing system.

  3. Pilot Test ICT Competencies and Assessments With Participating Institutions. Activities may include professional development for participating faculty (e.g. international exchange, industry externships), release time for curriculum development and pilot testing curriculum based on the ICT competencies/standards and assessments.

Assessment and Credential Project:
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), an international ICT trade association representing more than 10,000 companies and 10,000 ICT professionals, is the largest vendor-neutral certifier of ICT skills in the world and second in total certifications behind Microsoft with more than 500,000 ICT personnel holding a CompTIA certification.

Building on its expertise of developing certifications that are driven and adopted by the ICT industry, CompTIA, in conjunction with a consortium of industry, labor, education, government and community organizations, is leading a project that will result in a set of validated ICT skill standards to guide human resource management, training / curriculum development and career guidance for workers in seven initial career concentrations - network infrastructure, network devices, programming, database administration, web development, digital media and technical writing.

The vision of the project is to develop a common skills framework for the ICT industry that builds upon existing industry programs to create a portable, modular and articulated system of assessments and certifications that will be maintained and updated by CompTIA on behalf of the ICT industry.

Proposal:
CompTIA, through its Educational Foundation, proposes to expand the research on skill standards to plan for the development and implementation of a jointly developed ICT assessment and certification framework that can be used by both industry and education in the U.S. and Denmark. The plan will incorporate the work on comparative skill standard systems and learning networks now being performed by RTS, Inc. and the Danish Technical Institute under FIPSE and Ford Foundation grants.

Proposed project deliverables include:

  • An inventory of existing ICT assessment tools analysed for compatibility with the national skill standards in both countries.
  • A model for assessment of ICT skills that will include pre-training aptitude, skills gap assessment while training, readiness for certification and evaluation of competencies gained through applied learning and work experience.
  • A management system for assessments and certification.
  • An online career advisor tool for use by industry, schools and workers that sets out career paths, training options and certification opportunities.
  • A plan for pilot-testing the assessment / certification system in both community / technical colleges and private, commercial training companies in both countries through either the learning networks being developed under a Ford Foundation grant or 4-5 state systems of community/technical colleges in the U.S and a similar number in Denmark.
  • An ICT apprenticeship framework for school-based training that will articulate with the apprenticeship program now being developed by CompTIA through a Department of Labor grant.
  • Articulation models that can facilitate secondary/post-secondary pathways.
  • Crosswalk between skill standards/credentials at different levels and academic/employability standards in order to align with the emerging academic standards in the secondary institutions.

Project Management:
The planning project will managed by CompTIA with the advice and counsel of planning committees of stakeholders from industry, labor, education and government that will be convened in both Denmark and the United States.

CompTIA and project advisory committees will build an ICT certification and assessment model that will address the following elements:

  • Business / education goals
  • Funding model
  • Definition of certification
  • Defined audience
  • Linkage to partner or accreditation programs
  • Defined benefits for certification
  • Criteria for product / subject inclusion
  • Testing and scoring goals
  • Legal policies
  • Development plan
  • Implementation plan
  • Marketing / communications plan
  • Compliance plan
  • Recertification / maintenance plan
  • Evaluation / reporting plan

Project Phasing:

Phase One - Inventory / Policy Issues (underwritten by U.S. Department of Education)

  • Inventory existing ICT assessments and certifications, including identification and description of products, purpose, content, target audience, use.  
    Selection of prominent/widely used ICT assessments and certifications for more detailed analysis.  
    Comparative analysis of selected ICT tools to assess their effectiveness, relative strengths and potential for transferability.
  • Development of conclusions and recommendations for use of ICT assessment and certification, implications for secondary and postsecondary education institutions, and implications for public policy for both the US and Denmark.

Phase Two - Framework Design
A flexible framework for assessment of ICT skills that will include:

  • pre-training aptitude

  • skill gap assessment

  • readiness for certification and

  • evaluation of competencies gained through applied learning and work experience.

  • Management system for assessments and certification.

  • Online career advisory tool for use by industry, schools and workers that sets out career paths, training options and certification opportunities.

Phase Three - Pilot Testing

  • Pilot-test the assessment / certification framework in both community / technical colleges and private, commercial training companies in both countries.

  • An ICT apprenticeship framework for school-based training that will articulate with the apprenticeship program now being developed by CompTIA through a U.S. Department of Labor grant.

  • Articulation models that can facilitate secondary/post-secondary pathways.

  • Crosswalk between skill standards/credentials at different levels and academic/employability standards in order to align with the emerging academic standards in the secondary institutions.

  • Adapt framework to assess career-changing / unemployed youth and adults in workforce systems in both countries.

Timeline:
January, 2002 to December, 2004

Outcomes:
This project will provide the Danish and American Education System and industry operating in both countries with a common credentialing framework that is modular, articulated, portable, industry-driven and compatible and synchronized with both the U.S. and Danish/E.U. skill standards.

The development of the ICT assessment / credential framework and resulting tools will result in an effective use of resources, a flexible education system, a mobile workforce and a smooth and more cost efficient means to recruit and retain ICT personnel that can also be used as a template for similar credentialing programs in other industries.

 
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Last Modified: 10/16/2007