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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

Micro-credentials Guide Assessment for Learning in Rhode Island

The micro-credentials – or “badges” -- movement took a great leap forward on June 23rd with the launch of the Assessment for Learning Project (ALP): Micro-credentials pilot in Rhode Island. The first goal of the micro-credential pilot is to encourage and help teachers cultivate, expand, and demonstrate proficiency in creating and implementing Quality Performance Assessments (QPA) in the classroom. 

The second goal is to learn a thing or two about micro-credentialing systems. The micro-credentials work by awarding badges recognizing and documenting teacher demonstration of skills in QPA design implementation. The hypothesis of the pilot is that the structure of the micro-credentials – combined with the freedom of “earners” to create their own pathway to proficiency – can impact and improve professional learning in education. The teachers of ten Rhode Island schools are on the journey with us, and are as excited as we are to see how this turns out!

There are nine micro-credentials organized into three “stacks.” The stacks are Basic Performance Assessment Design, Advanced Performance Assessment Design, and Leading a Performance Assessment Community. These can be found at Digital Promise.

The most striking thing about the gathering of the teachers at the launch event was their encounter with the micro-credentials for the first time. Teacher participants were quick to integrate the micro-credentials into prior knowledge of performance assessments. One of the groups talked about some of the performance assessments from CCE they utilized in their classrooms. They could see how these mirrored many of the principles highlighted in the micro-credentials.

By the end of the day, many of the groups were already thinking of previous assignments that they could adapt in the micro-credential process. Many of them realized how the various aspects of CCE’s work tied together. They weren’t there to learn everything from square one. They were there to grow their knowledge of performance assessment, to better prepare themselves as leaders in spreading these practices throughout their entire school, and to blaze the trail for system-wide change.

One challenge for large-scale implementation of the micro credential system is time. Teachers are busy. Everyone is busy. Nonetheless, one goal of CCE is to help teachers manage this process so that it doesn’t create an undue burden. This means that many of the requirements of the micro-credentials can be met by teachers doing what they are wholly or partially doing. In this case, the learning is  the work.

CCE’s job is to be there along the way to answer any questions or concerns that may come up. We all want a better education for every student. The micro-credentials are another step towards that larger goal that further guides teachers toward designing and implementing assessments for learning. 

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