Credential Evaluation - Why Is It Necessary?


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jul 15, 2022 11:04 AM IST

Credential evaluation organisations use a set of evaluation standards to appropriately translate an international student's grades. It also acts as a reliable third party for both international students and universities around the world. Learn more about Credential Evaluation, its types, and why it is necessary by reading this article.

Credential Evaluation - Why Is It Necessary?

Globalisation has brought limitless chances for education. To pursue your passion or education, you can travel anywhere in the world. Education is rightly regarded as the foundation for one's future. However, if your academic grades are not recognised or properly compared as per the countrys education system, then you may fail to achieve your targetted course or university. This is where credential evaluation plays a major role in simplifying and converting your grades so that it aligns with the countrys education marking system where you are applying.

Now, let us answer your question in detail - what is credential evaluation? Systems of higher education around the world have different admission standards. Additionally, they award credit in different ways and grade the subjects using different methods. This is where the need for credential evaluation sparks. Often, colleges and universities require student credentials to be evaluated (or assessed) i.e. the academic results or transcripts are assessed and the grades are covered in such a way that it matches the countrys education system.

A credential evaluation also verifies the accreditation of the institution(s) from where you have completed your previous education and obtained a degree. This is done to ensure that all documents are valid and to assess the comparability of your home country's education system to that in countries such as the United States or Canada.

Who Requires Credential Evaluation?

A credential evaluation is essentially a comparison of academic and professional degrees obtained in different countries. This is required by universities, schools, and employers all around the world to understand foreign education systems and their grading structure, which in turn helps them evaluate applicants for admission or employment.

To put it simply, credential evaluation is a process in which an expert examines your transcript and other types of academic documentation to determine what kind of credit it translates into as per the other countrys education system.

If you are eligible for evaluation, a credential evaluator will review your documents and write a report, which you can keep and share as needed. This report will be a careful examination of your work and its counterpart in another school system. Most universities ask for evaluated academic transcripts to be sent directly to them from the evaluators.

So, in short, International students and applicants going abroad for employment are the majority of candidates that require credential assessments.

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What is a Credential Evaluation Service?

Third-party organisations that specialise in transcript evaluation typically provide credential evaluation services. An expert evaluator assesses your professional and academic transcripts, diplomas, certifications, and degrees completed in your native country and calculates their equivalence in another education system as part of this service.

They also include further details about your credentials, such as the accreditation of the previous institute, the credit hours earned, your Grade Point Average (GPA) and your overall performance.

Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), for example, provide a general service that includes an evaluation of your academic documents and programmes studied, as well as a list of their US equivalents. Other services assist you in converting your overall academic performance into a GPA recognised by US institutions. This includes a course-by-course evaluation that assigns the US equivalent to each subject you have completed.

Clarify the exact verification requirements with the universities you will be applying to. Be sure your potential credential evaluation services provider can meet the requirements and deadlines of the universities you are applying to.

What are the Types of Credential Evaluations?

There are mainly three different types of credential evaluations which we are going to discuss in this section. However, it is vital to consider what type of report is required by the college or university to which you have been accepted. Let us discuss all three types of credential evaluations and their purposes:

Document-by-Document Credential Evaluation

The document-by-document credential evaluation report includes an overall list of the educational institution(s) attended and the education credentials obtained abroad. This is also called Educational Credential Evaluation. It also specifies whether the academic credentials are equivalent to that of the United States. This may include a bachelor's, master's, doctorate, etc. degrees.When transfer credit is not expected, this credential evaluation is most typically used in employment, immigration cases, and university admission.

All original academic documents, such as diplomas, certificates, and/or transcripts (showing graduation date and major), with English translations (if applicable), must be sent in original documents or certified copies in this document-by-document credential evaluation.

Course-by-Course Credential Evaluation

The course-by-course credential evaluation report analyses and describes each certification/diploma and assigns a level of equivalency to each document. It displays academic details such as courses completed, final grades, credit hours, degrees, and cumulative academic accomplishments in terms of your host country's educational system.

Since the majority of students desire to pursue higher education in the United States, the country normally works in terms of semester credits and a 4.0-grade point average. For college applications and evaluating transfer credits, a course-by-course credential evaluation is typically needed.

Professional Work Experience Evaluation

Professional work experience certification evaluations are provided to applicants applying for H-1B visas in the United States for immigration purposes.

This credential evaluation report evaluates an individual's professional employment record as well as educational credentials to determine Bachelor's degree equivalence. It is important to note that a professional work experience evaluation cannot be used for licencing or educational purposes.

How Do I Choose the Right Credential Evaluation?

The type of credential evaluation service you require is determined by your personal needs as well as your academic programme. Consider the following while determining which evaluation service you may require:

Do you require it for professional certification or a course? If you want to enrol in a certification programme or professional training, the type of evaluation required will vary depending on the profession. Certain credential evaluators may only provide services for specific businesses, such as medicine or accounting.

Do you need it for higher education? Depending on the type of programme you are applying for, your institution or college may ask for certain credential evaluations. However, these requirements may not be the same for undergraduate and graduate applicants. These evaluations assess your previous academic credentials or academic transcripts as well as performance and may require a written request from the universities where you have previously studied.

Do you require it for employment purposes? Some employers may check your qualifications to see if you satisfy their job criteria. The type of credential evaluation you require in this case is determined by the position or job profile you are looking for and the requirements of the organisation.

When you know which credentials are necessary, such as transcript evaluation services or evaluating an international degree, you can filter your research to providers who can offer those evaluation services.

List of Credential Evaluation Service Providers for International Students

Now that you have an idea about the types of Credential Evaluations and how to choose the right one for you. Let us discuss some established Credential Evaluation Service Providers around the world:

Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE)

The AICE refers to creating and promoting best practices for credential evaluation on a global platform. They are known to support organisations that offer top-notch services. Organisations that want to join the AICE must pass a rigorous application process that verifies their requirements for evaluation services. Numerous AICE member organisations also provide services to individuals, licencing authorities, colleges, professional associations, universities, and schools.

Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)

ECE is a credential evaluation company with over 40 years of experience that focuses on credential evaluations for international students who want to study at universities in the US as well as universities in Canada. In addition, they offer online training programmes for e-learning sessions that cover the evaluation procedure.

World Education Services (WES)

World Education Services (WES) assists immigrants and international students in starting their studies and professions in the US. Since its establishment in 1974, WES has evaluated the credentials of almost three million individuals in more than 200 nations. WES also provides online resources for independent assessments, including a GPA calculator, a list of US degrees and their equivalents abroad, a list of the necessary paperwork, etc.

American Evaluation Association (AEA)

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) is a substantial credential evaluation association with about 6,000 member organisations. About 50 US states and more than 80 other countries are represented by these organisations. The AEA offers online training programmes on a variety of topics, including publications from the past, yearly events, and certification evaluations.

Association of International Educators (NAFSA)

Since 1948, NAFSA has been a leading global association with a heavy emphasis on fostering international education and exchange. With over 10,000 members from 150 countries, the organisation focuses on teaching credential auditors globally and assists them in attaining higher standards in the evaluation process.

National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)

NACES is comprised of over 15 independent organisations that provide credential evaluation services. Members of the association value strong professional and ethical standards, as well as strict quality standards. Through its Global Standards Program (GSP), NACES collaborates with organisations that evaluate credentials outside the US to raise the calibre of evaluations performed worldwide.

Note: Before selecting any specific agency for credential assessment, students must check with the university if they have a preference. Some universities either specify which agencies to contact for a credential evaluation or strictly accept evaluated copies from only one specific agency.

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How Long Does it Take for Documents to Be Evaluated?

Depending on the number of documents being assessed, any additional services, and the genre of evaluation, each organisation will have its timeframe for degree evaluation.

Evaluation of transcripts typically takes three to four weeks. However, it can take a week for evaluations with fewer documents. Furthermore, a few companies connected to evaluation organisations, like ECE, provide credential evaluation reports in five working days.

While selecting the organisation for your credential evaluation, remember to thoroughly examine the time it takes for your report to get delivered. This is necessary to ensure that you may submit the credential evaluation to your desired university before the application deadline.

How Much Does a Credential Evaluation Cost?

The cost of credential evaluation services is determined by the assessment organisation you choose, their governing association's policies, the type of review you require, and the requirements of your desired institution.

To give you an example, a General with GPA Credential Evaluation from the ECE might cost USD 130 which is mostly utilised for educational-related applications. Some organisations may charge an additional cost for extra copies of your evaluation or add-on services such as speedy delivery.

If you require extra assistance in determining the fees associated with credential evaluation, your advisor might help. They can also advise you on student resources such as scholarly advisory services, academic assistance, and many others.

Reasons Why Credential Evaluation is Necessary

The necessity of international credential evaluation cannot be neglected as it is a vital step in the admission and acceptance of international candidates. Here are five reasons why a foreign credential evaluation prepared by an independent credential evaluation service is necessary for you and your international institution:

Verification of English Translations

Academic materials are usually issued in languages other than English and are accompanied by English translations. A credential evaluation will check that the English translations are accurate and that the dates, grades, course titles, names, and keywords correspond to those on the authentic academic document.

Foreign Academic Institution Status

By establishing how the institution is recognised and who acknowledges its accreditation, the credential evaluation determines the official standing of the institution where the studies were completed. If an institution is found to lack the necessary accreditation, the research will not be compared to those done at regionally approved US schools or universities. If the institution is found to be a Diploma Mill, this information will be shared with the US universities for which the evaluation is intended.

Authentication of Documents

A credential evaluation will check academic documents for authenticity with the granting organisation and correlate them to archival documents. This type of validation will provide you peace of mind that the academic documents are authentic and valid for processing.

Biographical and Academic History Check

The academic records submitted will be compared to the candidate's academic background and biographical details. The applicant's name and other biographical details, such as age, will be examined to make sure they reasonably correspond to the schooling shown in the paperwork.

Detailed Program Description

Admission Criteria: An academic or professional credential evaluation determines whether the documents submitted represent lower secondary, post-secondary undergraduate, high school, graduate, or post-graduate studies.

Grade conversion to its US equivalent: The grades or final exam results/ scores/marks reported on the academic documents will be converted into US equivalent grades during a document's credential evaluation, and the overall grade point average will also be determined.

Credential evaluation is, in a nutshell, a procedure that makes your accomplishments visible to international universities. A paper analysis report will make it easier for university admissions authorities to decide whether to admit you based on your prior education and experience. The time and effort you spent on your study will pay off once your academic credentials are carefully evaluated and recognised.

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Why is credential evaluation important?

Credential evaluation is important because it enables admissions officers, scholarship providers, and even employers in understanding the effort you have made toward your education. This will provide them with the opportunity to make more informed and fair decisions regarding admitting you to university, providing you scholarships, hiring you, etc.

Do universities only accept the reports by credential evaluators?

No, universities do not only accept the reports by credential evaluators. Before adopting those evaluations and other documents, universities will still use their own standards and judgement to make an informed decision. However, credential evaluators' findings are expert recommendations to universities, and many universities rely solely on these evaluations.

What type of documents do I require for a Credential Evaluation Report?

The type of documents you require for a Credential Evaluation Report will vary depending on your employers' requirements as well as your desired university. When you contact a credential evaluation organisation for their services, they will advise you of the documents that they will need from you in order to do the evaluation. These may include certified copies of all your academic records, including certificates, diplomas, and any other transcripts of prior education.

Can I order an extra copy of the Credential Evaluation Report?

Yes, you can order an extra copy of the Credential Evaluation Report. For an additional price, most credential evaluation agencies will supply you with an extra copy of your report. This price is typically less than the complete cost of the report. ECE and WES both charge USD 30 for a copy of an extra credential evaluation report.

Do all international universities require Credential Evaluation?

No, all international universities do not require Credential Evaluation. Some education systems in different countries have unique evaluation systems. In some cases, universities themselves will evaluate your degree. Furthermore, certain countries/universities recognise the Indian education system accurately.

Is Credential Evaluation universally recognised?

No, Credential Evaluation is not universally recognised. This is because credential evaluation varies from one country to another. Therefore, it becomes critical to mention the country to which you are applying even before submitting your documents for evaluation to the organisation.

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