Two prevailing credential evaluation methodologies exist:
This approach to credentials evaluation—standard in the US—prioritizes years of full-time study as foundational to the comparison of international qualifications and accepts that an academic year (or term) of full-time study in one country is proportionate to an academic year (or term) of full-time study in another. While it is an oversimplification to reduce the entire evaluation strategy to simply counting the number of years that a program requires, this method certainly gives more weight to calendric measurements of learning. Because this method is preferred by USCIS and state licensure boards, IEE primarily uses this methodology for immigration and licensure reports.
This contextual approach to evaluation is used widely around the world and is gaining traction in the US. It prioritizes academic and professional access in the comparison of international qualifications and prefers contact hour measurements of learning duration. More importantly, this evaluation strategy accepts that outcomes and achievements in one country are commensurate with outcomes and achievements in another. It gives weight to how specialized and well-prepared students are for further studies or to enter the workforce with advanced skills. This method for credential evaluation is more widely accepted globally and is quickly gaining traction in the US with institutions of higher education. IEE uses benchmarking methodology when appropriate in conjunction with year-counting for education and employment reports.
If you would like to read IEE’s white paper on Year-Counting vs. Benchmarking, you may do so here: WhitePaper: Benchmarking and Year-counting Defined or to learn more about our evaluation guidelines, you may do so here: Evaluation Guidelines