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The American Council on Education on Thursday released two new papers that call for a less fragmented credentialing system in higher education and for better communication about the value of students' competencies. The group, which is higher education's umbrella organization, is hosting a live stream from an open meeting about the two papers on Thursday morning.

The range of credentials issued has grown in recent years, with more associate degrees, certificates and state-issued licenses being awarded.

“The diversity of credentials is not always meeting the needs of students, educational institutions and employers, and unfortunately the proliferation of credentials is causing confusion,” one of the papers said. “There is a lack of shared understanding about what makes credentials valuable, how that value varies across different types of credentials for different stakeholders, what constitutes quality and how credentials are connected to each other and to opportunities for the people who have earned them.”

In addition, ACE said students can benefit from more effective communication to employers about what they know and can do with that knowledge.

"Employers need to understand the competencies of applicants in order to make appropriate hiring and promotion decisions, thereby increasing the value and effectiveness of their organizations,” the second paper said.