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Credential Analysis: Spotlight on China

Over the past few decades the number of students who come to study abroad in the United States has continued to grow. According an article in Forbes magazine, the number of Chinese students who studied abroad in the United States during the academic year 2010-2011 reached 157,558. This makes the Chinese the largest body of international students seeking further education in the United States. With this rapid influx of Chinese students the importance of academic credential evaluations has increased. It is important to provide American universities with information on Chinese academic credentials as their equivalencies can be very different when compared to the credentials in United States education system.

The Chinese education system, like many foreign education systems, has several important differences to the education system in the United States. One of these differences is related to the academic credentials required to provide evidence that a student holds a conferred degree from a university in China. Unlike in the United States, there are several different types of certificates and diplomas awarded by Chinese institutions that are considered to be evidence that a student holds a conferred degree. These documents include degree certificates, graduation certificates, certificates of specialization, certificates of completion, etc. It is necessary to have knowledge of these credentials to be able to provide clients with accurate academic equivalencies.

The various educational programs provided by Chinese schools can also be a challenge for admissions counselors in the United States. In China there are several different types of diploma programs, some of which are offered at accredited universities and others that are offered at non-university, post-secondary institutions. These diploma programs vary in length, and while the equivalency evaluation of one of these diplomas may result in an Associate’s Degree, other diploma evaluations may be equated as vocational training or simply as professional development. A thorough analysis of these programs and credentials, therefore, is important in being able to perform accurate academic equivalency evaluations.

Another aspect of the Chinese education system that can be difficult to navigate is accreditation. While in many countries accreditation is carried out by a National Ministry of Education or private accreditation bodies, in China it is not so. Instead, accreditation in China can be carried out by a number of different parties including national government ministries, local municipalities and provincial governments. Knowledge of these accrediting bodies is necessary in order to complete an accurate educational evaluation, as many of these types of accreditations would not be equivalent to what we consider regional accreditation in the United States.

SpanTran: The Evaluation Company performs in depth research on education systems across the globe as it strives to offer its clients with the most precise and comprehensive foreign credential evaluations. Professional ethics, as required by its membership to NACES, along with the company’s 30 year commitment to the foreign credential evaluation service, has allowed SpanTran to collect and maintain a large database of resources, which keeps SpanTran evaluators informed about older and prevailing education systems, and updates them with the current developments and changes to the education systems of today.  SpanTran aims to continue updating and developing its resources while keeping in mind its goal to provide the most complete and accurate foreign credential evaluations.