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Credential Domain Overview

This section describes the Credential Domain for the Teacher Preparation Data Model, provides background and rationale, and provides guidance for its application in the field.


TPDM is built on the Ed-Fi data model. In the core Ed-Fi data model, Credential represents the attainment of a certification or license that authorizes or enables teaching assignment services. Reference the current UML data model below. 

Core Credential Data Model

Figure 1. The Credentials model in the core Ed-Fi data model

In the core model, Credentials are associated with Staff. In addition, optional associations are supported from the StaffEducationOrganizationEmploymentAssociation and/or the StaffEducationOrganizationAssignmentAssociation to reflect the specific Credential that is used to authorize that employment or assignment position for the Staff.

Drivers for the TPDM Credential Domain Extensions

The TPDM project identified the following domain requirements, which required extensions to the core Ed-Fi data model:

  • Define the state’s available certifications and the requirements to achieve each, including courses, exams, workshops, endorsements, and microcredentials.
  • Associate credentials with Teacher Candidates and track their progress for achieving them.
  • Track the lifecycle of Credentials after issuance (e.g., renewed, revoked, retired).
  • Associate workshops and professional development activities in pursuit of a Credential.

In addition, use cases have surfaced in the K–12 domain whereby secondary students pursue and obtain credentials. Additional uses are microcertifications associated with professional development. 

Credential Model

The TPDM Credential model definition covers more than teaching certifications, as noted below:

  • Credential. A certification or license obtained by a person indicating their capability and suitability to perform a job function, such as fulfill a teaching assignment.

The following entities are also included, as depicted in the following UML diagram:

  • Certification. An offering by an official granting authority of a certification or license that qualifies persons to perform specific job functions, such as to fulfill a teaching assignment.
  • CertificationExam. An examination required by one or more Certifications.
  • CertificationExamResult. A Person's result from taking a Certification Exam.
  • CredentialEvent. An event associated with a Person's Credential subsequent to the original credential issuance (e.g., suspension, revocation, renewal).

TPDM Credential Extension Model

Figure 2. The extended Credentials model in TPDM 

Notes on the Credential model:

  • In addition to being referenced by Staff, a Credential may reference a Person, allowing its use with other person-roles, such as TeacherCandidate or Student. 
  • To support Credentials for Students, the GraduationPlan will optionally identify RequiredCertifications. Acquired Credentials by a Student may be optionally associated with the StudentAcademicRecord.
  • An optional association is included in the Professional Development domain from ProfessionalDevelopmentEventAttendance to Certification.
  • Credentials can be used as before, as associated with Staff, and without using the added extensions.
  • The TPDM data model extends the core Ed-Fi data model. The extensions in the Credential domain are mostly additive entities, with the Person and GraduationPlan entities extending their counterparts in the core Ed-Fi data model.

Using the Credential Domain

The Certification entity represents the catalog of possible certifications or licenses offered by a State Education Agency (SEA) and the required CertificationExams for each. They are identified by a CertificationIdentifier and CertificationExamIdentifier, respectively, plus a Namespace. The intent is that they are preloaded by the SEA or other representative and optionally associated with the EducationOrganization.

Once loaded, Credentials may be associated with those Certifications. Once associated with a Certification, many of the optional fields in Credential do not have to be used to duplicate information stored in Credential. A Person’s result from taking a CertificationExam is reflected in CertificationExamResult.

The lifecycle of credentials is represented as follows:

  • Stage 1. Pursuit of a Certification is indicated in the RequiredCertification of the GraduationPlan.
  • Stage 2. CertificationExamResults provides results for each time a person takes an exam. The descriptor CertificationExamStatus with no score can be used to denote registration, if desired, or other workflows like approval.
  • Stage 3. Acquisition of a Certification is indicated by the Credential.
  • Stage 4. For lifecycle events after a Credential is issued, the CredentialEvent may be used. The default values for the CredentialEventType descriptor are:
    • Renewed
    • Revoked
    • Suspended
    • Retired
    • Voluntary Surrender
    • Expired
    • Deprecated

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