Clearinghouse and AstrumU Collaborate to Increase Transcript Data Transfer Across Institutions
In the following Q&A, Kaj Pedersen, Chief Technology Officer of AstrumU, and Rob Groot, Managing Director, Learner Mobility & Experience with National Student Clearinghouse, address the need for institutions to increase the efficiency of transcript data transfer across institutions as well as the challenge and opportunity ahead.
What is higher education’s current process for translating transcripts from one institution to another? Is this a universal process?
The best way to describe the current process is a hodge-podge of approaches that are wedded to legacy platforms and the lack of innovation in the industry.
There is no universally accepted approach across higher education institutions, who have generally leveraged the services offered via the current crop of Student Information Systems (SIS) available to them or applied “inferior” third-party solutions to ease the manual burden.
Unfortunately, this has led to inefficiencies and additional costs when it comes to translating transcripts as it requires support for the potential of multiple document types, formatting and quality. There is no simple, interoperable or expedient approach that can allow the educational institutions to move information between themselves seamlessly and with sufficient quality as a result.
Where are the opportunities for improvement with this process?
One simple word: interoperability. By looking for improvements that leverage standardization across the industry, it is possible to realize the benefits of straight-through-processing (STP), which has benefitted so many other industries outside of the education industry.
STP is still about automation, but with subtle nuances that enable institutions to derive meaningful information from their transaction processing, towards improving processes and providing a better service for their customers. STP now plays an important role in knowledge acquisition and management for many organizations, which are also benefits that can be achieved by education institutions if they focus on interoperability.
For the institution and the learner, this is going to bring a monumental change in velocity from application to acceptance and therefor lessened anxiety for the learner while it provides cost savings to the institution.
How does the solution work? What is happening ‘behind the scenes’ to create accurate translations?
Our solution leverages AstrumU’s LevelSet™️ platform, where we capture SIS generated PDF transcripts and process them using our ingestion engine’s AI to convert them into the industry standard PESC data format. During this ingestion activity we are able to ensure the quality of our output by leveraging automated tests and checksum tests during the conversion to PESC XML formatted output. The good news is that our XML output will enable us to deliver on future formats in support of JSON and EDI enabling more interoperability between our customers.
This solution allows, in comparison to those institutions that leverage Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and similar solutions, to get away from having to define and maintain transcript templates, and truly realize the benefits of automation.
Who is eligible to take part in the beta launch?
Our PDF-to-Data Solution is currently in beta launch with select universities for their postsecondary transcripts received through the National Student Clearinghouse. Institutions can reach out to participate to have your most important sending schools prioritized in the solution development process to maximize the value your school and students can glean from this exciting innovation.
Contact Becky Amos to learn more about this solution and participating in the beta launch!