Certification and certificate are distinct terms in the context of education or training.
Certificate of Attendance or Participation
- Provided to individuals (participants) who have attended or participated in classes, courses, or other education/training programs or events.
- The certificate issued at the completion of the program or event signifies that the participant was present, and in some cases, that the participant actively participated in the program or event.
Assessment-Based Certificate Programs
- Provides instruction and training to aid participants in acquiring specific knowledge, skills, and/or competencies associated with intended learning outcomes.
- Evaluates participants’ accomplishment of the intended learning outcomes.
- Awards a certificate only to those participants who meet the performance, proficiency, or passing standard for the assessment(s) (hence the term, “assessment-based certificate program”).
- Voluntary process by which individuals are evaluated against predetermined standards for knowledge, skills, or competencies.
- Participants who demonstrate that they meet the standards by successfully completing the assessment process are granted a time-limited credential.
- To retain the credential, certificants must maintain continued competence.
- Primary focus is on the assessment of participants (as opposed to education/ training).
- Certification process requires the assessment to be independent of both a specific class, course, or other education/training program and any provider of classes, courses, or programs.