June 3, 2022
At a Glance
The EQOS Quality Assurance Framework helps learners and workers, education institutions and postsecondary training providers, private investors, governments, and others identify high-quality opportunities that lead to equitable economic advancement.
Education Quality Outcomes Standards (EQOS), a nonprofit housed within Jobs for the Future (JFF), establishes universal, independent measures of education and training program quality to help people navigate the increasingly crowded and confusing education and training marketplace. Using the EQOS Quality Assurance Framework, individuals, providers and institutions can more easily identify high-quality opportunities that lead to equitable economic advancement.
Our quality assurance criteria and metrics focus on real-world results that consumers seek, including job placement and earnings. By using JFF’s reach to scale our framework, we can increase the public’s understanding of the value of various education and training options, improve individual decision-making about how to pursue career goals, and open new avenues to move learners and workers from confusion to clarity.
EQOS’s established framework for quality assurance enables programs to report student outcomes in a transparent, trustworthy, and comparison-based manner through the lens of the learners who pay to attend, and the employers who consider those individuals for jobs.
To that end, the framework examines a range of near- and medium-term outcomes related to:
- Student learning
- Program completion
- Job placement
- Client satisfaction
We are also committed to increasing equity through our framework. Black people, Latinx people, and other population groups are currently underrepresented in high-value credential programs that lead to high-wage careers. Research shows that over two-thirds of all Black students are enrolled in public higher education institutions, most of whom are underrepresented in the majors that lead to higher wages and overrepresented in lower paying majors like social work and community organization. Together, EQOS and JFF will provide greater transparency on the return on investment of education and training programs by disaggregating outcomes by race, income, and background to inspire institutions toward more equitable advancement for all.
The EQOS framework outlines a new, outcomes-based system of quality assurance that allow institutions and stakeholders to evaluate quality of programs and credentials through student outcomes—how students fare in the real world—increasing transparency, accountability, and consumer protection. Our work grew out of a U.S. Department of Education initiative, the Educational Quality Through Innovative Partnerships pilot (EQUIP), launched in 2015, which opened federal financial aid for a group of programs that were partnerships between colleges and nontraditional training providers who could meet innovative and rigorous quality assurance standards.
The framework outlines a range of near- and medium-term student outcomes, including:
Learning: Acquiring knowledge and skills is perhaps the most important feature of any consideration of quality. Learning quantifies and categorizes the skills and competencies within a program and assesses whether graduates have met industry and/or self-identified benchmarks by the end of instruction.
Completion: Rates of completion provide a useful measure of how individual learners fare within a given program. This metric logs the rate at which enrolled students successfully finish their program.
Placement: Students often cite obtaining jobs, career advancement, or continuing higher education as key reasons for pursuing postsecondary education. Placement measures whether a program graduate has obtained a new job, advanced in title and/or salary with an existing employer, or generated a new or increased income through self-employment.
Earnings: Financial rewards and economic mobility provide key measures of value for students in postsecondary education. Earnings measure the average wage or salary of participants before and after their program.
Satisfaction: Student satisfaction is an essential component of quality evaluation. Satisfaction assesses the program’s success from the student’s perspective through survey questions focused on instructor quality, program content, and level of support.
EQOS and JFF will continue to refine and evolve the EQOS framework to meet the needs of an ever transforming, dynamic education and training marketplace by updating outcomes definitions, adding more outcomes metrics to better understand student success, and creating connected tools and services to make the framework more useful and accessible to our stakeholders.
- Inaugural EQOS State Pilot with the CO Department of Higher Education (DHE), completed May 2021
- Evaluating Outcomes for New Jersey’s Higher Education Institutions, completed February 2022 | Report | Press Release | Website
- Implementing Outcomes-Based Quality Evaluation for Postsecondary Providers in Indiana, completed April 2022