Considering social requirements for diverse learning opportunities at the higher education level, NIAD-QE conducts research for the evaluation of learning outcomes required for the awarding of academic degrees to those who have studied at different educational institutions on different occasions throughout their lives. NIAD- QE also conducts empirical verification of its awarding of academic degrees. Another essential objective is the promotion of research in higher education and identification of relevant issues, with a primary focus on the quality of academic degrees in Japan, and also a system of academic degrees with international recognition affirmed. As well as making use of the results of this research in expanding its system of awarding academic degrees, NIAD-QE makes the results widely available to universities and other higher education institutions. This contributes to the development of the academic degree system in Japan, and also to a more widespread understanding of academic degrees.

1. Studies and Research on the Assessment of Learning Outcomes as a Requirement for an Academic Degree, and Recognition of the Academic Degrees

As the number of learners higher education students increases, along with increasingly wide movement of people across national borders, interest is growing in academic degrees as evidence that a person who completed an area of higher education. Considering the institutional conditions required to ensure that academic degrees and other qualifications from higher education institutions are properly recognized by these institutions and also by labor markets, along with the systematic nature of learning required at the higher education level to be eligible for an academic degree, NIAD-QE is conducting research supporting not only its system of awarding academic degrees, but also higher education policy in Japan as a whole. NIAD-QE accomplishes this by using comparative studies focused on Japan and other countries to gain a better understanding of the theoretical basis of academic degree and credit systems.

2. research on the Functions of NIAD-QE’s Awarding of Academic Degrees

Research aimed at improving NIAD-QE’s system of awarding academic degrees focuses on ways of recognizing learning outcomes at the higher education level that result from diverse opportunities throughout an individual’s life, and transforming these into an academic degree. What form should higher education take to ensure that it is open to people in diverse socioeconomic conditions who are exploring varying careers? Keeping this key question in mind, NIAD-QE conducts research that focuses on methods of evaluating various forms of learning at non-university educational institutions, and then assessing the relevant credit hours. In addition, NIAD-QE examines the significance of, and potential for, building systems for awarding Bachelor’s degrees based on the accumulation of credit hours through learning at the higher education level. Also, in partnership with the Degree Validation and Examination Division, the Research Department conducts a survey of those who have accumulated credit hours to a certain level of learning following the completion of their education at a junior college, college of technology, professional training college, or similar institution, and who have received a Bachelor’s degree from NIAD-QE. The results of this survey are reflected in improvements in NIAD-QE’s system for the awarding of academic degrees.

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