Equivalence Comparisons as a Basis for Quality-Assured Recognition of Vocational Learning Outcomes for Study Modules at German Universities



  • PD Dr. Wolfgang Müskens, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg


The idea of equivalence between different educational programs is an essential basis for the design of transitions in the German education system. However, for quality-assured recognition to be possible, equivalence must be verified in a valid and practicable manner.  To this purpose, procedures and methods known as "equivalence comparisons" have been developed in Germany since 2005.

Equivalence comparisons consist of level and learning outcome comparisons. They are based on taxonomies and qualification frameworks. This presentation reports on 15 years of experience with equivalence comparisons at German universities. Different instruments and possible applications will be presented.

A fundamental problem is the effort associated with equivalence comparisons.  Different approaches are presented how this effort can be reduced. It turned out that the available information about the qualifications to be compared is of crucial importance for the equivalence comparison to produce valid results. Overall, equivalence comparisons have helped to make the complex German education system more permeable and universities more open.

PD Dr. Wolfgang Müskens

Researcher, Leibniz University Hannover, Faculty I Educational and Social Sciences, Germany
Dr. Wolfgang Müskens holds a degree in psychology. 2001 doctorate at the University of Koblenz-Landau, since 2001 research associate in the Faculty I (Educational and Social Sciences) of the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg. Involvement in numerous projects in the areas of permeability and recognition of vocational competencies for university degree programs. Since 2017 scientific head of the central PLAR-Service of the University of Oldenburg. 2019 Habilitation in Educational Sciences with focus on "Lifelong Learning / Continuing Education".

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