Tag Archives: Association of International Credential Evaluators

Dispatches from Minneapolis, MN

April 7th, 2017

AICE

The Annual AACRAO Conference this year was held in Minneapolis, MN which marked the third and final stop on my Midwest tour of international education-related conferences. Representing both the Association of International Credential Evaluators and the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc., speaking at three sessions, hosting and moderating the 2017 AICE Symposium meant I had a full plate with little time to catch my breath or sightsee. Nicolette Mall, where the Convention Center and the Millennium Hotel I was staying at was under heavy construction leaving the Downtown deserted with little or no evidence of life other than the two thousand AACRAO attendees milling about the Skywalk. Apparently, the construction has been underway for four years and still in progress in preparation for the Super Bowl.

Joined by fellow AICE Endorsed Members Beth Cotter and Aleks Morawski and ACEI’s Marketing Director, Laura Sippel, the early days of the AACRAO Conference kept us occupied with booth duty at the Exhibit Hall and reception hopping in the evenings.

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L-R: Drew Carlisle (AACRAO), Melanie Gottlieb (AACRAO, Deputy Director),
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (ACEI President & CEO and AICE President)

Attending the International Educators Luncheon stressed the gravity of the new administration’s anti-immigration policies in DC and its negative impact on the flow of students to U.S. institutions of higher education. At the International Educators Reception, an annual event sponsored by the Paver Family Foundation, it was an honor to be recognized by Dr. William Paver, as the incoming Chair of the AACRAO IESC (International Education Standards Council) for EDGE (Electronic Database on Global Education).

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L-R: Aleks Morawski (Director of Evaluations at FC, Endorsed AICE Member), Zepur Solakian (President of CGACC), Bill Paver (President of FCSA &Past AACRAO President), Beth Cotter (President of FCA, Endorsed AICE Member), Jim Bouse (AACRAO President), Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (President & CEO of ACEI & President of AICE) at the AACRAO Board Reception

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Photo: AACRAO Staff, Board, Sponsors and Special Guests at the International Educators Dinner, Mercy Restaurant in Minneapolis, MN

Though I didn’t attend the Opening Plenary with Garrison Keillor as the featured speaker, I made sure not to miss the Closing Plenary with Danny Glover and Felix Justice as featured speakers, and was not disappointed. Mr. Glover and Mr. Justice spoke of their experiences during the Vietnam Era, the struggles of Civil Rights movement, and ultimately Mr. Glover’s advice that what truly matters, is the connections we make with others and the lives we impact.

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AACRAO Closing Plenary: Danny Glover and Felix Justice

The AICE Symposium “Setting the Standard for Graduate Admissions: Three-year Degrees and Other Admissions Challenges” was kicked off with a wonderful reception at the Mission American Kitchen Bar and Grill. Invited guests, including AACRAO President, Jim Bouse, AACRAO Deputy Director, Melanie Gottlieb and representatives from U.S. universities, AACRAO staff, and AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates were all in attendance. To say the reception was a smashing success, is an understatement!

The AICE Symposium, a full-day event, was also a success with thirty-one attendees participating in a lively and collegial discussion on topics covering the Bologna three-year bachelor degrees, the three-year bachelor degrees from India, and the three-year bachelor degrees from Australia, South Africa and Israel. Panelists and attendees collaborated in defining guidelines that will help AICE continue refining the Standard document. A full report of the Symposium’s talking points will be available shortly and posted on the AICE website.

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This ends my Midwest tour! My next adventure takes me to the Southern Hemisphere, where I will be attending the Gronningen Declaration Network in Melbourne, Australia, to be one of its invited signatories. Stay tuned!

jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

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13 Facts about the Bologna Process

May 14th, 2015

bologna
The 2015 Ministerial Conference and Fourth Bologna Policy Forum recently took place in Yerevan, Armenia, on May 14 and 15, 2015. Here are some facts about the Bologna Process that highlight the progress it has made to date and problems and challenges to overcome.

Bologna Process Defined

1. The Bologna Process is named after the Bologna Declaration, which was signed in Bologna, Italy on June 19, 1999 by ministers in charge of higher education from 29 European cities.

2. The Bologna Process is a European reform process aiming at establishing a European Higher Education Area by 2010

3. Today, the Bologna Process unites 47 countries which are all part to the European Cultural Convention.

4. The Bologna Process also involved European Commission, Council of Europe and UNESCO-CEPES, as well as representatives of higher education institutions, staff, students, and employers and several organizations involved in quality assurance. For a list of countries and organizations participating in the Bologna Process, please click on this link: http://bit.ly/1IDtH0q

5. The main mission of the Bologna process is to facilitate student mobility and academic exchange amongst participating countries by offering comparable degrees organized in the bachelor, master and doctorate model of higher education.

6. The European credit transfer and accumulation system, known as ECTS, is part of the Bologna process of the three-cycle degree structure in its effort to make mobility and recognition of studies easier.

Challenges and Problems

7. Disparities exist both within and between countries and regions that have adopted the Bologna Process. Not all countries are moving in the same direction at the same pace.

8. The three degree model is not always used in a coherent way, especially in fields such as medicine, teacher training or law.

9. There is a lack of consistency in how ECTS credits are used especially in master’s degree programs where designating credits for student-centered learning remains unclear.

10. Students continue to face problems of having their degrees recognized by other countries that have adopted the Bologna process. According to Tibor Navaracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, “…by 2020, 20% of students will be mobile during their studies. Problems of recognition of foreign degrees persist: students (almost one in 10, according to one Bologna report) find they cannot continue their studies from bachelor degree in one country to masters in another, despite the – on paper, at least – comparable degree structure throughout the European Higher Education Area.”

11. The degrees appear to not be providing graduates the skills needed to prepare them for future careers.

12. Higher education in some of the countries is still not easily accessible for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

13. Not all countries have embraced digital technologies and their potential in transforming learning and teaching techniques.

Given the significant progress made and the problems observed, it would be interesting to see how the recent Ministerial Conference in Yerevan plans to resolve these challenges. What goals and reforms will be decided on to help give the Bologna Process the boost it needs to move forward and remedy the shortcomings witnessed in the past 20 years?

Helpful Links:

http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/about/
http://www.coe.int/T/DG4/HigherEducation/EHEA2010/BolognaPedestrians_en.asp
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20150506110025327

jasmin_2015

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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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21 Facts About ACEI on its 21st Anniversary!

April 1st, 2015

Today, April 1st, ACEI celebrates turning 21! This is no April Fool’s joke. 21 years ago on this day, ACEI opened its office in Beverly Hills, CA, USA and has been providing its international credential evaluation services to students and immigrants from around the world.

We thought in celebrating 21 years of business, we share with you 21 facts about ACEI:

1. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators

2. ACEI’s primary service is international academic credential evaluation where studies completed at institutions outside the U.S. are evaluated and converted into the approximate U.S. academic equivalence.

3. ACEI evaluates educational credentials from all academic levels (e.g. primary/elementary school through high school, university from undergraduate to graduate and doctoral and professional) and from all countries around the world.

4. ACEI also provide a Translation Service where academic credentials issued in languages other than English are translated into the English language.

5. ACEI provides an Experiential Learning Evaluation for Officer Training programs completed while in military service for non-US commissioned officers.

6. ACEI evaluations are prepared by senior level credential evaluators who each have a minimum of 10 years of committed experience in international education credential evaluations.

7. Our processing time in completing an evaluation is 7 business days from the day we receive the completed ACEI Application, educational credentials and fees.

8. We offer three types of evaluation reports: Basic (General) Report; Comprehensive (Course-by-Course) Report and the California Board of Accountancy Report. Each of these reports are designed to meet the specific purpose for which the evaluation is intended: employment; professional licensing; immigration, further education/continuation of studies.

9. We offer 2 types of RUSH services: 24-hour rush and 3-business day rush, if an evaluation is required to be completed faster than our 7-business days.

10. The fees submitted for a credential evaluation provides 2 sets of the evaluation report: an official report and a duplicate applicant copy.

11. ACEI official reports are issued on heat sensitive transcript security paper.

12. ACEI provides customized Virtual Intensive Training programs to U.S. schools, colleges, universities and regulatory boards interested in acquiring a more hands-on knowledge of world education systems and credential evaluation methodologies.

13. ACEI’s blog “AcademicExchange” has been producing weekly blogs since April 2011 and has been viewed by more than 40,000 viewers.

14. The Report is ACEI’s monthly online Newsletter which has a subscription of over 5000 subscribers and provides highlights of education-related news from around the world.

15. ACEI has 2 mail processing centers in the Los Angeles are to facilitate applicants with the delivery of their application packets.

16. Walk-in drop off service is available by appointment only to those applicants who wish to deliver their original documents in person.

17. The ACEI Comprehensive (Course-by-Course) Report in addition to recommending the U.S. academic equivalent of the level of studies completed and any certificate/diploma/degree earned, provides a detailed course-by-course listing of subjects studies with U.S. semester units of credit (for post-secondary studies), U.S. grade equivalents (A, B, C, D, F), calculates the overall Grade Point Average, and classifies course levels for undergraduate studies as lower and upper division.

18. ACEI staff is proficient in several languages including Spanish, French, Farsi, Russian, Armenian, German, Italian, Croatian, Chinese.

19. ACEI senior staff has authored several publications on world education systems that are used by international educators at other credential evaluation agencies, and U.S. colleges and universities and state regulatory boards.

20. ACEI provides 24/7 customer service through its call center.

21. ACEI’s Facebook page has 11,000 followers and its Twitter page has 700+.

Bonus Fact:

22. ACEI has its very own resident office cat, Scruffy, a 14-year old Main Coone with polydactyl paws.

Scruffy

Thank you for supporting ACEI since 1994!

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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International Credential Evaluations: Standards and Best Practices

March 27th, 2014

Paperwork

Throughout the years, several U.S. international education individuals and organizations generously applied themselves in establishing guidelines for applied research and the evaluation of international educational credentials, while at the same time outlining the professional ethics and principles for the profession. Since its inception, the development of Standards and Best Practices has been the mission of the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE). We are committed to addressing the needs of the international credential evaluation profession and the first association to publish and enforce consistent standards for its members.

What is AICE?

The only U.S. membership association concerned primarily with:

1. ensuring quality assurance in international credential evaluations.
2. setting standards and offers certification for international credential evaluation professionals.
3. providing best practice guidelines and training for its members.

The Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE) was created in 1998 as a non-profit organization in order to address known deficiencies in the international credential evaluation marketplace through the adoption of ethical standards. AICE works to safeguard the interests of both international students and the newly-arrived immigrants in the U.S. as well as schools and institutions of higher learning, professional licensing and regulatory boards and employers, through the promotion of ethical, standards-based international academic credential evaluations.

AICE’s purposes are to:

1. Develop standards of ethical practice pertaining to the evaluation of international academic credentials and conversion of these studies into their U.S. equivalent.
2. Develop best practices and training for its members to serve more proficiently those with international credentials seeking admission to U.S. educational institutions, employment, or professional certification with a regulatory board.
3. Establish a framework through which its members can become certified.

AICE takes pride in being the only U.S. Association to publish and enforce standards for expert qualifications, methodologies and reporting outcomes in international credentials evaluation. The Association’s members provide U.S. equivalents of international educational documents that are utilized by institutions of higher education, USCIS, state/local/national government departments, personnel departments such as teacher credentialing and other employers. AICE members are responsible for developing and implementing the ethics and correct practices required by a profession that touches the individual lives of each of our clients as well as our society as a whole. AICE’s Standards are posted on the website’s home page. www.aice-eval.org.

AICE Members:

Each member of AICE must submit to a rigorous application process to indicate that it fulfills the Association’s standards for expertise, methodology and documentation. Evaluations completed by organizations and individuals that meet AICE standards are accepted as reliable and complete within the field of applied comparative education.

AICE members assist those with education from abroad who are seeking residency and employment, professional licensure or further education in the United States. Individuals with foreign education are referred to AICE members by immigration attorneys, managers and educators who need information. AICE member evaluators provide practical and up-to-date knowledge on foreign ministries of education, institutions of education, educational areas of study, diplomas and transcripts.

AICE-certified member organizations are: Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute. (ACEI); American Education Research Corporation (AERC); Foreign Credential Evaluations, Inc.; Globe Language Services, Inc. International Evaluation Services; Lisano International; SDR Educational Consultants.

A major part of AICE’s mission is to provide the general public with access to trustworthy credential evaluation research and experts. AICE members satisfy this mission by meeting the Association’s requirements for expertise, evaluation methodology and thorough evaluation report by following stringent guidelines in the preparation of credential evaluations.  We will continue our collaborative efforts with our members as well as those organizations who share the same mission.

David A. Robinson, Ph.D.
President
AICE
www.aice-eval.org

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Importing Grade Inflation? – Credential Evaluation Economics

October 04, 2012

balance scale

Are you helping import grade inflation from abroad? Many colleges, universities and licensing boards in the U.S. unknowingly encourage artificial inflation of international students’ grades by accepting questionable credential evaluations. This is a troubling issue to many comparative education researchers because of the way the foreign credentials evaluation industry works in the U.S. Let me explain:

Because many U.S. institutions refer international applicants to credential evaluation services, the true de-facto standards for analyzing foreign academic credentials are shaped by each U.S. institution’s decision about which evaluation services to accept. For many years, U.S. institutions and evaluation services successfully self-regulated in this environment, sharing and comparing research and creating a generally consistent standard for evaluation decisions. However, while the number of international applicants is growing, the self-regulated balance in U.S. credential evaluations is becoming increasingly threatened.

In recent years, a small number of evaluation services, including at least one very large provider, have started to deviate significantly from generally-accepted evaluation decisions in ways that seem blatantly more “generous” to certain groups of international students. While an evolving understanding of comparative education does require some disagreement among the community, a private entity’s dramatic shift towards evaluation results that inflate U.S. degree and grade equivalency recommendations appears to be motivated mainly by short-term financial profit.

Here’s the problem – if U.S. colleges, universities and professional licensing boards decide to accept evaluations from providers that inflate students’ degree recommendations and grades, the dishonest evaluator will win! Of course students will flock to an evaluation service that recommends consistently higher levels of education than its competitors. Consumers should always be able to shop around for lower prices or better service, but students should probably not be able to pay for artificially inflated credential evaluation results.

So what’s the solution? U.S. institutions need to be more cautious when accepting foreign credential evaluations. Colleges, universities, licensing boards and others should be very comfortable with an evaluation service’s personnel and methodology before accepting their evaluations. Additionally, currently accepted evaluators should be periodically reviewed to ensure continued best practices.

Here are two very helpful resources : “Guide for Selecting a Foreign Credential Evaluation Service,” by the NAFSA: Association of International Educators and “An Admissions Office’s Guide to Foreign Credential Evaluations” by the Association of International Credential Evaluators.

Most reputable evaluation services have not compromised the integrity of their evaluation methods, and some evaluators such as the members of the Association of International Credential Evaluators even make concerted efforts to share research and form consensus decisions. My company, Credential Consultants, is promoting evaluation consistency by collecting and organizing comparative education research as a comprehensive resource for those in the community. I encourage admissions officials at U.S. institutions to reach out to evaluators and get to know the people behind the “due diligence”. Many of us are happy to answer questions and get to know you as well.

Drew Feder
Acting President & Co-Founder
Credential Consultants, Inc.
http://www.credentialconsultants.com

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5 Reasons Why International Credential Evaluation is Necessary:

August 10, 2012

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Whether you represent a school, college, university, professional licensing board, employer, or any other entity engaged in the recruitment, placement, certification or the hiring of internationally-trained candidates, you know that educational systems and academic documents vary greatly by country. No two academic systems are alike and nothing can be taken on face value, even if an academic document “appears” to mirror a US college transcript. Academic institutions and professional groups that don’t have the expertise or knowledge-base to conduct foreign credential evaluations must not avoid this crucial step, no matter how qualified or appealing an international candidate’s portfolio may appear.

In a recent blog on INSIDE Higher Education by Elizabeth Redden, the importance of international credential evaluation and how it may be getting a short shrift shows the pitfalls of what can happen when this very vital step in the admission and acceptance of international candidates is ignored. Ms. Redden cites one U.S. state university, which relied solely on the advice of international recruiters and agents and bypassed the credential evaluation process entirely, only to find itself in hot water with the regional accreditation body. In another blog posted by Jasmin S. Kuehnert, President of ACEI, we are reminded again of the very pitfalls Ms. Redden cites in her piece.

Here are 10 reasons why a foreign credential evaluation prepared by an independent credential evaluation service will benefit you and your institution and the international candidate:

1. Authentication of Documents:
A credential evaluation will verify the authenticity of the academic documents with the issuing institution and compare it against archival documents. Such authentication will provide you with peace of mind that the academic documents are bona-fide and valid for processing.

2. Verification of English Translations:
Many times the academic documents are issued in a language other than English and are accompanied by English translations. A credential evaluation will verify the English translations to ensure for accuracy that dates, course titles, grades, names, and key words match those on the official academic document.

3. Biographical and Academic History Check:
The candidate’s academic history and biographical information will be compared with the academic documents presented. In addition to the applicant’s name, other biographical information like age will be checked to ensure that it corresponds reasonably to the education represented in the documents.

4. Foreign Academic Institution Status:
The credential evaluation determines the official status of the institution where the studies were completed by identifying how the institution is accredited and who recognizes its accreditation. If an institution is determined to not have the appropriate accreditation, the studies will not be evaluated in terms of those completed at regionally accredited U.S. institutions. If the institution is determined to be a Diploma Mill, then this information will be conveyed to the U.S. institutions for which the evaluation is intended.

5. Program Description:
a)Entrance Criteria -The credential evaluation determines the level of the academic or professional program represented by the documents submitted as either lower secondary, senior high school, post-secondary undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate. It will establish the minimum academic criteria for admission to the institution where the studies were completed before the U.S. educational equivalence is recommended. This is an important step in the evaluation process which will assist the U.S. institutions in their decision-making. For example, if it is determined that the international candidate’s academic achievements are comparable to US senior high school graduation, yet he/she has submitted an application for graduate (master’s degree) studies at the U.S. university, the admissions department will be able to properly advise the candidate of his/her eligibility for admission to another degree program at the undergraduate level instead.

b)Length of Study & Conversion of Instruction Hours to Credits – The credential evaluation will determine the required length of full-time study for the academic program evaluated in order to calculate the U.S. semester or quarter credits for post-secondary studies completed and if necessary, determine the level of post-secondary courses in terms of lower, upper division and graduate division.

c)Conversion of Grades into U.S. equivalent Grade – A document evaluation will calculate the grades or final examination results/marks reported on the academic documents into U.S. equivalent grades, and calculate the overall grade point average.

Due diligence in international admissions, professional certification, hiring and job placement of individuals educated and trained outside the U.S. is essential. Understanding international candidates’ capability and qualifications allows you to properly assess and integrate them into your scholastic, professional and work environment. By obtaining the expert assistance of an independent credential evaluation agency, U.S. academic institutions, professional licensing boards and public or private companies can protect themselves against fraud and misrepresentation in the international education arena.

(Note: Please refer to our previous blog “5 Things International Students Should Know About Credentials Evaluation”.)


A non-for-profit professional association of international credential evaluators.
www.aice-eval.org

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As Seen in International Educator

“Full-page advertisement for the Association of International Credential Evaluators in the NAFSA publication “International Educator.”

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