Facilitators: Janice Poda, Learning Forward, and Karen Cator, Digital Promise
Essential Question: How might we leverage micro-credentials to recognize and identify the relevant competencies necessary for aspiring teachers?
This session addressed the potential role for micro-credentials in the pre-service credentialing process. The idea that teacher candidates “with micro-credentials are getting hired faster and first” inspired this session’s participants and the direction in which they took their challenge.
A long list of guiding questions evolved from the group discussion, many addressing skills development, whether a statewide system should recognize micro-credentials versus systems of micro-credentials that are available to support teachers, the role and availability of technology to support micro-credentials, challenges faced by HR personnel, particularly those in the hiring process, and the revenue model for moving forward.
To answer these questions, session participants recommended exploring existing frameworks, such as edTPA, TNTP, competency-based learning, personalization and other learner-centered approaches, as well as alternative certification programs such as Troops to Teachers.
The group then defined their challenge statement: Integrate micro-credentials as a competency-based method for recognizing what aspiring educators can do and need to do.
Participants identified three major avenues to pursue in order to effectively incorporate micro-credentials into credentialing – assessment, content, and Human Resources/advocacy. In pursuit of these, the group ultimately proposed three solutions that, when taken together, would advance this work. They include:
- Assessment – To ensure that educators have access to assessments that meet a variety of needs, the group proposed developing a system that would support both crowdsourced “low-stakes” assessments and expert “high-stakes” assessments. Expert assessments would be appropriate for applications that demand a higher level of rigor because of their implications, such as pre-service credentialing. Crowdsourced assessments would pertain to less formal undertakings or situations where learning from peer review would be most helpful. They also suggested advancing the design of automated assessments and eventually implementing these where appropriate. In all cases, teacher candidates would own the privacy settings for their assessments.
- Content – Because pre-service credentialing requires educators to demonstrate a specific set of skills and competencies, participants proposed first mapping all existing micro-credential content by keyword, similar to the EBSCO database. Using those keywords, the content could then be aligned to the INTASC standards and validated and rated by experts for rigor. Keyword tagging and alignment would also enable clarity around content gaps that could be filled with new micro-credential content.
- Human Resources/Advocacy – Because human resources professionals and partners are important players in providing legitimacy to any credentialing system, they must also deeply understand the role micro-credentials play in the system. To accomplish this, the group proposed pursuing funding to create a communications campaign that highlights the value of micro-credentials in the hiring of new teachers and the benefits it would have for the emerging ecosystem.