We are excited to announce some upcoming changes to the NAF Design, specifically related to our approach to Outcomes-Driven Work-Based Learning and to NAFTrack Certification.
First, it’s important to understand what NAFTrack is! We view NAFTrack as NAF's stamp on the skills and knowledge that students have acquired while in their academy. With a focus on Outcomes-Driven WBL, students are able to demonstrate the skills, aspirations and social capital they've developed in addition to providing relevant and meaningful feedback about their experiences. So, we have built the NAFTrack Certification platform as the technology to capture the Outcomes-Driven Work-Based Learning activities and provide feedback for students and educators.
Continued use of NAFTrack Certification: We will continue to offer NAFTrack Certification to students as the recognition of their experience, career planning journey, and skill mastery as validated by local employer partners. This certification signifies that the student has met NAF’s standards of future readiness, which holds value to NAF and within the context of NAF academies and their ecosystems. This certification represents a student’s achievement of a true NAF experience, including participation in multiple work-based learning opportunities, feedback, and mentorship from industry partners. Because this represents a high-quality experience aligned with our educational design, NAF will continue to track certification progress in the Academy Assessment as an indicator of high-quality academies and fidelity to our model.
New certification requirements: NAF is moving to a new equation of requirements that aligns with our outcomes-driven WBL approach, increasing the number of students participating in high-quality WBL experiences across the continuum, and ensuring that more students graduate from our academies identifying their next steps (aspirations), building the skills needed for success, and building their professional network to help them navigate their path forward.
For certification, a student must participate in 3+ WBL activities across the 3 phases of the WBL continuum (Career Awareness, Career Exploration, and Career Preparation) AND demonstrate a level of mastery of the 6 Future Ready Skills, as validated by an internship supervisor. *The graphic below is a draft, we will update with the final version before NAF Next 2023.
If you are thinking: "Are the requirements for NAFTrack Certification different from the new requirements for the Academy Assessment for 23-24?", we've answered that question in more depth here: Understanding the difference between NTC and AA for 23-24.
Gradual requirement updates by graduation year: We will gradually move toward the new requirements for the class of 2024 and 2025, with the expectation that the class of 2026 fully accomplishes experiences and requirements included in the full equation of the new NAFTrack Certification.
First, the new requirements for NAFTrack Certification for the class of 2024 are as follows:
Enrolled in a career connected program of study (as captured in the Data Collection form in the Fall of 2023). Follow this link for information about what "Career Connected Program of Study" means.
Participate in a WBL Preparation (Internship) Activity of at least 80 hours
You might be thinking “that’s pretty simple”? Yes, it is! We are trying to make the shift easy for both academies, educators and students. And, we will gradually shift to more requirements for each class in the future:
The class of 2025 will be all of the above PLUS one WBL activity from either Awareness or Exploration
The class of 2026 will be required to complete 3 WBL Activities, one from each category of Awareness, Exploration and Preparation.
Finish collecting and entering all data for the class of 2023. For the class of 2023, you will still need to be sure to collect course grades, graduation and internship completion. The old NAFTrack Certification formula remains in place through the class of 2023.
Focus on ensuring that each student in the class of 2024 has an internship. As we gradually shift to the new NAFTrack Certification formula, the class of 2024 will be dependent on the internship credit for their certification. Be sure to capture the internships for those students and help all students to have an internship experience.
With the change in the formula for NAFTrack Certification, we will be shifting the tracking of course completion to the Data Collection and Academy Assessment Forms. This will significantly reduce the workload required for educators and allow you to focus on collecting WBL Activities in the WBL Tracker. If you are not yet familiar with the WBL Tracker, we have put together many resources and how-to materials available in the WBL section of ASH.
In preparation for Fall 2023, the student platform has already undergone several changes, and additional improvements are expected beyond that. The current look and feel of the student platform will likely continue for Fall 2023. The "Course Recognition Request" feature will be removed, and the "Tasks and Announcements" section will be developed to include student reflection forms and student survey requests, skills feedback from employer partners, reminding supervisors of pending internship assessments, and other essential information for students. Beyond Fall 2023, NAF is looking forward to designing a new look and feel for the student platform that is user-friendly and powerfully delivers the necessary tools for the students to engage with the system.
If you have any questions, we encourage you to reach out to your Portfolio Manager or contact the Support Team by submitting a ticket in ASH (click the Yellow Question Mark on the bottom right of this page).