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Thoughts from the experts: AI and the future of professional credential

13 December 2023
Lit up block with AI written on it in virtual computer motherboard landscape


With AI continuing to advance at a rapid pace, there have been plenty of questions about its impact on professionals. More specifically, whether the ability to pass industry qualification exams with AI will damage the credibility of professional credentials.

Newsworthy headlines are certainly a cause for concern, but what does the relationship between AI and credentials look like in reality?

Well, it’s a little more complex. Yes, AI tools will have a direct impact on the nature of assessment, with applied knowledge and practical skills tests becoming more relevant. However, credentials remain a valuable asset, indicating expertise beyond knowledge.

After all, the ability to fly through an exam is not a reflection of the day-to-day competencies required to perform a role.

Kaplan Assessments is combatting concerns with a unique approach to qualifications

At Kaplan Assessments, our leading experts are at the forefront of emerging AI developments and, on a wider scale, the evolving landscape of professional-level qualifications.


To ensure your organisation remains competitive, while retaining public trust, we offer tailored solutions with a real-world focus. This allows more flexibility during the assessment process, moving away from written exams that can more easily be influenced by AI.

Get in touch with our team today.

The story so far: ChatGPT has passed several high-stakes professional exams

ChatGPT’s success in passing the Uniform Bar Exam signifies another milestone in the AI era. In fact, the latest version received a combined score of 297, surpassing the high threshold set for the exam. Unsurprisingly, it did particularly well on the multi-choice section…

And ChatGPT’s capabilities aren’t limited to the legal profession. The language model has successfully tackled numerous medical exams, ranging from college-level to the US Medical Licensing Exam. The latter is a high-level assessment required for medical licensure in the US, whereby ChatGPT was able to pass all three components and, overall, achieve the 60% accuracy threshold.

So, what does this mean for high-stakes sectors? Will AI soon replace practising professionals? It’s highly unlikely…

Although this recent development confirms the potential for AI to play an increasingly valuable role in certain sectors, such as being able to support the training of future doctors, its abilities have a limit.

The highly contextual nature of certain professions still requires, and will continue to require, the judgement, ethics, and interpretive skills of humans. Credentialed professionals remain the backbone of organisations, offering an expert-led service and building trust - as highlighted by Steve Marietti, the chief commercial officer for Kaplan North America.

What do recent AI advancements mean for professional credentials?

ChatGPT’s latest achievement is only concerning if we view qualifications as proof of knowledge. In this context, credentials are simply a badge awarded to professionals who have an understanding of their role and the wider industry.

But is this sufficient enough to raise standards in the workplace? Not in our books.

In many sectors, we have seen the importance of continuing professional development. Ultimately, this trend reveals the need for professionals to undergo additional training in order to fulfil their roles to the highest standard. Knowledge will only get you so far, especially with changes being made to the responsibilities of professionals. In this context, credentials signify a readiness to engage in ongoing learning and adaptability.

While advancements in AI are making significant strides, the dynamic nature of professional roles demands a level of decision-making that current technologies will struggle to match.

Practical ability and competence within a real-world setting are more crucial than ever - human elements that AI can't replace.

The connection between professional credentials and maintaining standards in an ever-evolving workplace

In reality, credentials earned from high-stakes assessments are multi-faceted.

They act as markers of quality assurance, interrogating and maintaining day-to-day standards in the workplace. This is essential for organisations operating within high-stakes sectors, where professionals have a duty to comply with regulations and continuously demonstrate a high level of competence.

Further to this, assessments can be used to identify gaps in employee’s skill sets, guiding further training efforts. A well-qualified team is central to protecting an organisation’s reputation for professionalism.

With industry developments taking place at impressive speed, there is greater pressure on professionals to become both proficient and agile in their roles. And, whether it’s the legal, health or finance sector, the public is reliant on a workforce’s ability to overcome and adapt to these challenges, requiring proof in the form of a qualification.

Credentials will therefore provide a basis for public confidence, acting as certificates of trust.

Looking to the future: How AI is transforming professional-level assessments

For now, the most pressing question is whether AI tools can mimic all professional skills. And, if ChatGPT can beat 90% of lawyers attempting to take the bar exam, what does this mean for the future of professional credentials?

The reality is far less sinister. As demonstrated with the Uniform Bar Exam and Medical Licensing Exam, AI is great at answering knowledge-based questions. It has also displayed impressive sector insights and can even perform routine tasks, if programmed to do so.

But when it comes to the integrity and relevance of certifications, AI poses very little threat.

If anything, technological advancements have forced us to review the way that professional assessments are approached. Through this lens, a new framework that focuses on real-life competencies and on-the-job performance, as opposed to theory, will help to combat several issues:

  • Alleviate the risk of AI cheating
  • Reinstall public confidence
  • Address the gap between knowledge and ability
  • Raise workplace standards
  • Move professionals away from AI-automated roles

The value of professional credentials remains intact and is even reinforced by ongoing AI developments. For high-stakes organisations to survive within this environment, there needs to be a shift towards assessments that successfully interrogate talent.

That’s where Kaplan Assessments comes in. To learn how we can benefit your organisation, fill out a quick enquiry form today.

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