New Release: Principles for Educator Micro-credentials

Blog Post
Feb. 4, 2020

Over the last six years, micro-credentials have slowly and quietly crept into elementary and secondary education as a way to verify the skills and knowledge that educators hold. But the movement to incorporate micro-credentials as a tool for educators to demonstrate competencies is gaining steam. Micro-credential provider Digital Promise’s interactive map shows that over half of states either have a policy in place allowing for the use of educator micro-credentials, or are exploring such a policy.

As districts and states begin to allow educators to “count” micro-credentials toward things like renewing their teaching license, both demand and supply are likely to grow. Before this happens, education policymakers need a way to ensure a sufficient level of quality in the design, assessment, and implementation of micro-credentials. Without these safeguards, the promise of micro-credentials to move educator policy toward a demonstrated competency approach will not be realized, as we will replicate many of the same inadequacies present in our current educator licensure, professional development, and advancement policies.

To address these quality concerns, the Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO) just released a set of design, assessment, and implementation principles to guide the various entities involved in the educator micro-credentialing process. New America’s Education Policy program significantly contributed to these principles as part of a competency-based professional learning task force convened by Digital Promise.

Adherence to these principles will help ensure greater consistency, relevance, and rigor among micro-credential offerings. But we see this document as guidance “version 1.0” and recognize that, as with any set of standards, these principles leave some room open for interpretation. Looking forward, New America will be focusing on developing “best practices” for micro-credentials, along with ideas for external validation and oversight.

Still have questions or concerns about what educator micro-credentials are, how they work, or what’s necessary to ensure a baseline level of quality? Join @NewAmericaEd and other authors of the principles on Twitter on February 5th at 3:30pm ET using #EducatorMCchat to discuss these, and other, questions further.

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