Monthly Archives: March 2018

The AACRAO Conference from the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) Perspective

March 30th, 2018

The 104th AACRAO Annual Conference was held in Orlando, Florida, this week to gather thousands of professionals in the field of applied comparative education, student admissions, academic records, international education, and enrollment management. The Annual Conference provided four days of workshops, sessions, roundtables, and networking opportunities.

AACRAO Executives encouraged attendees to make the most of the Annual Conference by visiting the exhibition hall, where AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates showcased the expert research, collaboration for best practices, and published set standards of AICE.

The AACRAO Program Committee developed a program that reflected the scope and breadth of their members’ professional responsibilities, including 200 sessions, round tables, poster sessions, and workshops.

AACRAO featured their 3rd Annual Film Festival to highlight how schools promote their programs and services which continuously played outside the Exhibition Hall.

The Annual Conference also provided several guest speakers, workshops, and professional sessions from a culmination of over a year of diligent planning by the AACRAO Program Committee.

ACEI President & CEO, AICE President and AACRAO International Evaluation Standards Council (IESC)- Electronic Database for Global Education (EDGE) Chair, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, shared her expertise by presenting on the benefits and placement recommendations provided by EDGE, the leading online resource for evaluating foreign credentials. Ms. Saidi-Kuehnert also presented on Diversity and Inclusion in International Recruitment and a session on Mutual Recognition Issues between the US and countries in European Union.

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AICE Endorsed Members: Alex Popovski (L), Ucredo, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (R), Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute

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AICE Endorsed Members: Aleks Morawski (L), Foreign Credits, Alex Popovski (R), UCredo

Several AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates also contributed to the excellent offerings of educational sessions to help the attendees build their knowledge and skills ensuring student and institutional success. AICE Endorsed Member, Aleks Morawski, joined AICE Affiliate the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ (NAIA), Garrett Seelinger, and AACRAO to report on their recent trip to Cuba to collaborate with Cuba educational professionals via the AACRAO Cuba Project.

AICE Endorsed Member, Foreign Credentials Service of America (FCSA) founder Dr. William Paver and the Paver Family Foundation generously provided sponsorship for the elegant International Educators Reception, which overlooked the impressive hotel pool and lanai.

The well-attended International Luncheon featured Ms. Tolu Olubunmi, founder and CEO of Lions Write, a social venture dedicated to building initiatives committed to advocacy for migrants, refugees, and displaced people. She is recognized as one of the “15 Women Changing the World in 2015” and as an Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur. AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates benefited from hearing Ms. Olubunmi’s message of advocating for the voiceless and collaborative efforts between corporations, governments, and civil society organizations.

Alan Alda, the multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner, addressed a packed room to close the Annual Meeting to discuss his book, “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?” He interactively addressed effective communication techniques with humor and warmth.

The closing of the AACRAO Annual Meeting kicked off the AICE Symposium, “Setting the Standards for Evaluating Institutional Recognition and Accreditation” where AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates, admission advisors, international credential evaluators, and AACRAO Executives meet to discuss critical issues surrounding our profession today.


The 2019 AACRAO Conference will be held in Los Angeles, California, followed by the 2019 AICE Symposium in the same locale.

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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10 Criteria to Consider for Outsourcing Your International Credential Evaluation Needs (and why ACEI is your trusted source!)

March 23rd, 2018

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In our previous blog, we wrote about the benefits of outsourcing international credential evaluations. In this week’s blog, we’d like to share with you the criteria you need to consider if your institution is looking to outsource its international credential evaluations.

With the need for increasing content and authenticity in the evaluation process comes the need for more education, training and experience on the part of the credential evaluator. Institutions seeking to outsource their international credential evaluations are advised to select a service or multiple services by requesting the following:

1. Membership

Is the credential evaluation agency an Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE)?

The Association of International Credential Evaluators is a non-profit professional association with unique set of criteria which employs a rigorous screening process in determining the eligibility of providers of international credential evaluation services to Endorsed membership. The AICE has published evaluation standards to which its members subscribe and conform to promote consistency and transparency in educational equivalency reporting.

Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. is an Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators.

2. Years of Operation

Does the credential evaluation agency have a proven record of experience in the field?

Find out when the agency was established and how long it has been in operation. Number of years of operation as a credential evaluation service provider demonstrates longevity and continuity in a field where fluctuations in the market due to economic and political events affects the solvency of a company and its ability to work with credentials from around the world.

Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. was founded in 1994 and is celebrating its 22nd year of service.

3. Standards

What evaluation standards and procedures does the credential evaluation agency employ in evaluating and determining U.S. educational equivalences?

It is important to find out the standards the evaluation agency uses in evaluating credentials to derive at U.S. educational equivalences. Does your institution have any guidelines in place when assessing international credentials? Are the standards used by the evaluation agency in line with your institution’s? If your institution doesn’t have any particular standards on evaluating international credentials, we recommend you refer to the AICE Evaluation Standards for guidelines.

As an Endorsed Member, ACEI adheres to the AICE Evaluation Standards in the preparation of evaluation of international credentials. Adherence to the AICE Evaluation Standards ensures consistency and transparency in evaluations and educational equivalence reporting.

4. Experience

Request and review a profile of the evaluation agency’s executive and evaluation staff. This information will help you assess the expertise and experience of the agency’s evaluation staff. It will also help you outline the methods the agency employs for its evaluators to receive continuous professional development.

√ At ACEI, information on the executive team is available on the website and for its evaluation staff is available on request. The evaluation staff at ACEI are classified at the senior level which means they each bring with them more than 10 years of committed and continuous hands-on experience in evaluating international academic credentials.

5. Services

What types of evaluation reports are provided by the credential evaluation agency?

It is important to determine the different types of evaluation reports the credential evaluation service provides to see if they are able to accommodate your institution’s needs.

At ACEI, we provide three types of evaluation reports: Basic (General Document-by-Document) Report; Comprehensive Course-by-Course (with Grades, GPA, Course Levels) Report; Course Match Evaluation (Comprehensive Course-by-Course with Grades, GPA, Course Levels and Course Match). In addition, ACEI evaluation reports can be customized to meet an institution’s specific needs. For example, ACEI will include information such as Language/Medium of Instruction and certified true copies of official/ original academic documents submitted with the official evaluation report.

6. Required Documents

What criteria does the evaluation company have in place in accepting academic documents?

It’s important to find out whether the evaluation company accepts official transcripts directly from the source institution, or original (“first-issued”) documents in the student’s possessions, photocopies or scanned documents submitted by students, or transcripts received electronically from the source institution.

The ACEI website identifies by country exactly what documents are required for evaluation and method of their submission. For some countries, ACEI strictly requires receipt of official transcripts directly from the source institution and from others, original documents to be provided by the students are accepted. Any original documents provided by the students are returned when the evaluation has been completed. Photocopies that have not been certified by the source institution are not accepted. Copies or scanned copies of documents are accepted for a preview but official/original documents are still required in order to prepare and issue an official evaluation report. Electronically transmitted official transcripts prepared by the source institution and released directly to ACEI are accepted for evaluation.

7. Processing Time

How long does it take for the evaluation agency to complete an evaluation?

The number of days an evaluation agency requires to complete an evaluation plays a significant part in the overall picture when a student’s application for admission is contingent on the evaluation report. You must determine the actual number of days it takes an agency to complete the evaluation and not the estimated time.  For example, an agency may claim a 10-day processing time but in practice it takes 20 or 30 or more days to complete its evaluation reports.

At ACEI, we’re proud to adhere to our claim of completing evaluations within 7 business days. This is an unprecedented turnaround time, unmatched by any other evaluation agency in the U.S. ACEI will complete evaluations within 7 business day from the date of receipt of the completed application form, required official/original academic documents and fees. The processing time is only extended in the event the student does not provide the required academic documents, fees, or submits and incomplete application. ACEI also provides 2 RUSH services whereby an evaluation can be completed within 24-hours or 3-business days on receipt of the completed application, required documents, and fees.

8. Library/Information Resources

What steps does the evaluation agency take in maintaining a dynamic in-house library?

A credential evaluation agency and the evaluation reports it generates are as good as its reference library. Maintaining an in-house library is one of the most important criteria in qualifying for Endorsed Membership with the Association of International Credential Evaluators. An in-house library that has in its collection historic and current publications and reference materials is the backbone of a full-service reputable evaluation agency.

ACEI is proud of its comprehensive in-house library of print and electronic publications which include historic references as well as the most up-to-date publications on world education systems and international directories of institutions of higher education. ACEI in-house library also has in its archives thousands of sample educational credentials and evaluation reports to use as reference. The ACEI Database of evaluation reports and country profiles is another helpful resource for its evaluation staff.

9. Website & Information

Does the evaluation company have a website that is user-friendly and informative?

A website serves as the portal to a company’s operation and services. An effective website must include information that is clear and transparent about its services, fees and procedures.

ACEI’s website provides detailed instructions on the application process, required academic documents for evaluation, types of evaluation reports, fees, methods of payment, processing time, and terms and conditions of service. The Frequently Asked Questions section of the ACEI website is also a helpful page to visit for supporting information.

10. Customer/Client Relations

How helpful and knowledgeable is the evaluation company’s staff?

And, last but not least, building a relationship with an evaluation company where you are confident that your institution’s needs and those of your international students are not ignored but handled in a timely and professional matter is essential. It is good to call the evaluation company and see if you are greeted by a friendly representative able and willing to answer your questions. If you emailed the company, how soon was your email answered?

ACEI’s official hours of business are from 9:00 AM PST – 4:00 PM PST Monday through Friday. ACEI has a 24-hour, 7-days a week answering phone service to handle basic phone inquiries during its non-business hours. During our regular business hours, our representatives are available to answer any of your phone and email inquiries. All phone messages and emails are answered within 24-hours.

In closing, by selecting a reputable evaluation service with proven years of experience, you are ensured the most up-to-date evaluation standards and practices. Indirectly, outsourcing also gives you access to the evaluation service’s resources: its library, database, knowledge and experience, online tools, and training. Finally, building a relationship with a credential evaluation agency creates an understanding between the parties that allows the agency to incorporate any special institutional needs into the evaluation. An on-going relationship with an evaluation service leads to consistency in the placement of students over time and across educational systems. It also provides the institution with an expert resource to consult when questions arise about credentials and placement.

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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3 Interesting Facts about U.S. Community Colleges!

March 16th, 2018

3 interesting facts about CCs

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18 Facts On Higher Education In Armenia

March 9th, 2018

armenia

Armenia regained its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and set out to reclaim autonomy of its higher education system. State universities redesigned the system from one-cycle programs to two-cycle bachelor and master level programs to be in line with other major systems in the world.

The Republic of Armenia is one of the 48 countries that joined the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the Bologna Process by signing the Bergen Communiqué in 2005. Armenia has since implemented most of the initiatives agreed on by the ministers of education of the member states.

Armenia hosted the Secretariat of the Bologna Follow-up Group from 2012 to 2015 followed by the Ministerial Conference and the Fourth Bologna Policy Forum in 2015.

1. Higher education in Armenia is provided by public and private institutions of higher education.

2. State higher education institutions function under the purview of several ministries but most are under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science (MES).

3. Higher education is provided by:

  • Institutes
  • Universities
  • Academies
  • Conservatories

4. The following institutions function in Armenia:

  • 26 State Universities (are autonomous, not-for-profit state entities)
  • 40 Private Universities, among them
  • 31 Accredited Universities
  • 83% of state universities and
  • 76% of non-state universities are located in Yerevan,
  • others in 8 provinces (Marzes) of Armenia

5. Other Ministries and Bodies:

  • Ministry of Defense (oversees 2 HEIs)
  • Ministry of Policy (oversees 1 HEI)
  • Ministry of Emergency Situations (oversees 1 HEI)
  • Mother See of Holy Etchimiadzin (oversees 1 HEI)

6. Universities provide undergraduate, postgraduate and supplementary education in various branches of humanities, natural sciences, science and technology, as well as scientific research.

10. Institutes provide specialized and postgraduate academic programs and scientific research in a number of scientific, economic and cultural branches.

7. Academies are responsible for the development of education, science, technology and culture in an individual sphere and offer programs preparing and re-training highly qualified specialists in an individual field, as well as postgraduate academic programs.

8. Conservatories prepare specialists in the field of music, providing qualification development and postgraduate academic programs.

9. Unified Secondary School Final Examination: In accordance with the Law on Education and the Law on Higher and Postgraduate Education, the centralized admission examinations to HEI has been replaced by the unified secondary school final examinations which are held at “knowledge assessment centers” and the basis for admission and selection.

10. Academic Year: The academic year is typically comprised of two semesters, beginning in September which is comprised of 2 semesters and ending in May with 20 and 22 weeks of duration respectively. Mid-term exams are held in October and March of the respective semesters and final exams are held at the end of each semester.

11. Contact hours: Though the formal weekly workload that students are expected to cover differ by the type of program and institutions, Bachelor degree programs require between 28 to 32 hours per week (sometimes up to 36), Master degree programs require between 16 to 18 hours and postgraduate (Doctorate) programs between 4 to 8 hours per week.

12. Credit System: Armenia adopted the European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS) in 2011.

13. Assessment: Examinations and tests are used to assess students’ learning outcomes. Grading systems vary among institutions with some using the 5, 10 or 20 -point marking scales, or 4 scale A-F letter grading.

14.  Assessment in State HEIs: Final evaluation of graduates is conducted by state examination committees which includes the comprehensive examination on specialty as well as defense of graduation work (diploma project, thesis or dissertation) or schemes.

15. Bachelor’s degree programs in preparing specialists requires 4 years, while for medical specializations it is 5 years. The 4-year Bachelor’s degree program ends with a final overall assessment and defense of final paper. The Bachelor’s qualification allows the graduate the right to practice the specialization (except medicine) and access to the next cycle-the Master’s degree.

16. Specialist Diploma programs are in the general humanities and social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences and special professional disciplines, and provide graduates with the professional skills for employment purposes. The Specialist Diploma programs are 5 years in duration, while in the arts and physical education they are 4 years in length. The Specialist Diploma is awarded on successful completion of the coursework with a final overall assessment, including the defense of a diploma thesis. (The 5-year Specialist Diploma programs are being phased out.)

17. Master’s degree programs require the Bachelor’s or Specialist Diploma degree for admission and awarded on completion of a minimum one year of education.  The Master’s degree provides access to Doctoral studies.

18. The Doctor of Philosophy degree program requires the Master’s degree or the 5-year Specialist Diploma and entrance examination for admission. The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires a minimum of three years of study and successful defense of a thesis based on original research.

Sources & Helpful Links:

http://studyinarmenia.org/hea

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/world-view/armenian-higher-education-european-higher-education-area

http://www.mfa.am/en/study/

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/where-to-study/study-in-armenia

http://www.osf.am/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/OSF_HE_report.pdf

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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An Update on The European Qualifications Passport for Refugees 2018-20: from pilot to scale

March 2nd, 2018

After successfully piloting the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees in 2017, the Council of Europe has decided to scale up the project and is preparing the launch of a 3-year project for 2018-2020 under the Action Plan on Building Inclusive Societies.

The European Qualifications Passport for Refugees is a document which gives refugees an assessment of their education qualifications that cannot be fully documented. Through an evaluation of the available documentation and a structured interview with qualified credential evaluators, the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees maps and presents information on the refugee’s educational level, work experience and language proficiency. The goal is to provide substantiated information that can be relevant for employment or internships, qualification courses and admission to studies.

The 2017 pilot project, building on methodology developed in Norway by NOKUT, involved on-site evaluations of the qualifications of refugees in Greece. Coordinated by the Council of Europe, the pilot included the Greek Ministry of Education, UNHCR and European Network of Information Centres (ENICS) from Greece, Italy, Norway and the UK as partners. 92 refugees were interviewed, resulting in 73 European Qualifications Passport for Refugees being issued.

The new 3-year project will launch officially in the spring of 2018, with the Netherlands, Germany, France and Armenia also joining. The project will continue the on-site assessment sessions in Greece and include interview sessions in Italy and other countries. The project aims to expand the pool of trained evaluators and further explore the use of online interviews. It will also reach out to community partners such as higher education institution, local authorities and NGOs with a view to helping the refugees integrate into their host societies.

stig

Stig Arne Skjerven, Director of Foreign Education in NOKUT (Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education), Oslo, Norway, and President ENIC-NARIC

Marina

Marina Malgina, Head of Section, Section for Recognition of Refugees’ Qualifications, (the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education), Oslo, Norway.

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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