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Student Badges

Micro-credentials for students who demonstrate specific skills

Overview

A digital badge recognizes that a student has mastered a specific skill or achieved a milestone. Similar to collecting physical badges from activities such as scouting, students can earn digital badges for out-of-class learning achievements or career-related skills. These badges provide a more detailed view of a student’s learning journey – as opposed to report cards or letter grades – since they are focused on individual skills or achievements.

Collecting badges can also help students demonstrate clear understanding of career-specific knowledge, which can support them on their career path as they complete internships, apprenticeships, and postsecondary education programs.

Approach

Implementing a badge system requires two initial steps:

  1. Identify the why: Before implementing a badge system, a school/district should first identify the problem they are trying to solve and why badging might be a good solution.

  2. Identify the how: The school/district should then identify and design a badge system that is clearly aligned to that reason, with proper planning as well as a clear understanding of the terminology and the learning outcomes the school hopes to attain.

Once a foundation is in place, school leaders or educators can go through the following steps to set up a digital badge system:

  • Build pathway(s) that clearly show the step-by-step progression that students will follow on a particular learning journey or career pathway.

  • Determine specific skills or competencies that students need to demonstrate mastery of in order to earn a badge.

  • Set criteria to issue the badge so students know what they need to provide evidence of or submit. Set clear expectations for a particular level of expertise through alignment (i.e., rubric, template) and decide who will determine this.

  • Choose an online platform where students will collect and track their badges, such as Badgr, Credly, or Open Badges. (Note: If you use Canvas as your LMS, this guide details how to add Badgr to any course.)

Additional Resources

To learn more about specific virtual schools’ approaches to digital badging, explore the following pages and/or explore specific examples of badge pathways and competencies:

Teacher Professional Development on Badging Systems

For schools interested in training staff on digital badges, this Digital Badges Course from Mountain Heights Academy provides instruction around creating, using, and awarding badges for teachers. Educators can also view other open educational resources (OER) from Mountain Heights Academy.


Strategy Resources


Elementary School Badge Plan

At The Forest School, students create a badge plan each year and work backwards to... Learn More