Imagine a world beyond the transcript or job application. A real in-depth understanding of learners’ skills, abilities, and knowledge. A true picture of a person's understanding and learning paths.
Welcome to a new world of innovative learning. Previously, teachers assessed students' skills, knowledge, and ability through the use of a standardized test, objective quiz, or written composition. Employers used one-page, preprinted applications to evaluate a person’s experience. As a result of this practice, students' grades documented on school transcripts or report cards correlated fundamentally to performance on an assessment rather than actual mastery or application of skills. For employability, the application or resume only recorded past experiences, not the actual success or understanding. In education, this process also resulted in a time delay, often months removed from the examination date, resulting in teachers not being able to address the needs of individual students when their challenges were encountered.
For technology to make the biggest impact on education and to allow teachers to fully engage with students at their own level, understanding the student’s achievements and depth of knowledge is key. Using a form of digital credentials is the best way for teachers to use technology to identify student strengths and weaknesses as they occur and not days, weeks, or months after the class has moved on to other topics. Using digital badges or micro-credentials, teachers will more efficiently manage classrooms, provide targeted teaching, and improve the learning environment for all students.
In the time of Covid-19, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding student learning in remote environments, state seat-time requirements for attendance and funding, and adherence of digital learning to state-established standards. What if there were a different way to measure the success of students at all levels?
The key to this process is standards and competency-based educational practices. While teachers have worked with educational standards for centuries, student understanding is often only described as a grade on a transcript as the student progresses through his/her educational experience. What does a grade of 87% tell us? Perhaps the student knew 87% of the entire material, or maybe, it was 50% off some things, 80% of others, and 90% of yet other knowledge or skills. Using existing technology, we can now paint a brighter picture of student achievement and incorporate emerging technologies to tailor a curriculum to students where they are and when they are there.
How do parents, teachers, universities, and prospective employers translate a posted grade to a defined set of skills or knowledge obtained by the learner? One answer. "Open-Badging," a progressive form of open assessment poised to change the way credentials are provided in all learning environments. By implementing digital credentials at the standard level, both machine learning, and educator guided learning can take place. Trained teachers can use current and emerging technology tools to provide better or more appropriate learning objects based on formative assessments with digital badges. These educators instantly know the depth of knowledge and the competency level of every student with whom they are interacting. This leaves more time for personalized learning, career guidance, and an integrated curriculum.
Micro-credentials present learners with opportunities to display their skills online through a variety of modes, including social media, ePortfolios, and digital resumés. This skill verification is portable and highly visible to stakeholders, employers, and potential clients. Moreover, Badging aggregates all of the learners' experiences and displays these in a manner to encourage employment, increase personal and professional learning communities, and open new possibilities for instruction and general mastery. Take a moment to review the Open-Badges image from Open Badges below.
In a time of uncertainty and ever-changing educational and work environments, the competency-based assessment provides real, effective, and portable models that are truly tied to a learner's experience and understanding. Know the levels of knowledge of your next students. Identify training areas needed for your next employee. Incorporate micro-credentials into your school or business and the performance of your students or employees as they grow.