The Future of Digital
Student Data Portability

ETS on Microcredentials and Learning Outcome Assessment Suites

May 18, 2016
11 a.m.-11:15 a.m.


dr. David G. Payne
Vice President and COO
ETS Educational Testing Service
David Payne is the Vice President and COO of the Global Education Division at ETS. David heads the GRE® and TOEFL® programs, as well as higher education assessments such as the ETS® Major Field Tests, ETS® Proficiency Profile and SuccessNavigator™. He also led efforts to create the comprehensive HEIghten™ assessment suite for general education student learning outcomes. Prior to joining ETS in 2003, Payne was Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at SUNY Binghamton and was a tenured professor in the department of psychology. Payne holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in experimental psychology from SUNY Cortland and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Purdue University. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He has published five books, nine book chapters and more than 100 articles, technical reports and papers.


ETS has developed assessments that measure complex traditional and non-cognitive skills for higher education learners and institutions. We have been working on ways to present stakeholders with certification of students’ achievements as documented in part by these assessments. ETS assessments can provide valid and reliable evidence of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) at a more granular-level than those obtained by conventional degrees and transcripts. These micro-credentials can be represented as digital badges or certificates with linked data that provides evidence and context for their claims. Such metadata could include descriptions of the issuer, the KSAs obtained, the method of assessment, the established criteria of proficiency, the quality of performance, and the time period of validity for the claims. Micro-credentialing is gaining momentum and is advantageous for individuals, HEIs, and employers. The newly-developed HEIghten Outcomes Suite will include micro-credential options. HEIghten is an innovative, modular, computer-delivered assessment tool that enables colleges and universities to measure the student learning outcomes that are essential for academic success. Test takers who complete these HEIghten assessments receive a total score and the proficiency level achieved, which is then combined into a micro-credential that serves as a reliable claim with evidence of the KSAs that educators and employers value.

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