Open Peer Accreditation

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Stephen Downes (2007) :

"Most of the latter part of this post consists of speculation, based on models we have already seen implemented on the web. But the speculation nonetheless point to a credible alternative to proprietary testing systems.


  • credentials are not reduced to necessary and sufficient conditions (competences). Any body of achievement may be posited as evidence for a credential.
  • these bodies of achievement - profiles and portfolios - result from interactions with a wide range of agencies and represent a person's creative and skill-based capacities
  • considerations of these achievements for credentials are open, that is, the public at large may view the profiles and portfolios being accepted, and rejected, for given credentials
  • there is no monopoly on the offering of credentials; any agency may offer credentials, and credibility of the agency will be based on the fairness of the process and the difficulty of the achievement

Yes, this is a very different picture of assessment than we have today. It replaces a system in which a single set of standards was applied to the population as a whole. This was an appropriate system when it was not possible for people to view, and assess, a person's accomplishments directly. No such limitation will exist in the future, and hence, there is no need to continue to judge humans as 'grade A', 'grade B' and 'grade C'." (, pp. 164+)