#edtech #edbadges #digital badges If a student is asked to explain why they got an A in a class,and you might get some of the following answers: Because I did all my work. Because I’m good at math. Because I work hard. Because the teacher likes me. Because I always come to class and pay attention. Because it’s easy. Because I’m smart. Or, the ever-popular, I don’t know.
On the contrary, ask a student why they got a poor grade, and you’ll often hear the opposite: Because I didn’t turn my work in. Because I suck at math. Because my teacher hates me. Because I missed too much class. Because it’s hard and I don’t get it. Because I’m stupid. Oh, I don’t know works for this side, too.
And, when the student, teacher, and possibly a parent are the only ones seeing a student’s work, and when a student and their parents see only that one student’s work, the process can seem rather mysterious. It’s not surprising that accusations of unfair grading or favoritism could arise.
In an open badge system, however, the definition of success is clear-cut and the evidence is plainly visible. The thought of parents comparing students’ work side by side might sound initially terrifying if you are accustomed to traditional grading (How come my son lost three points for neatness when this student didn’t lose any? His is just as neat!). But with digital portfolios or linked badges, a different type of comparison arises-- the type where understanding of the expectations grows and excellence is promoted.
The open aspect helps students (and parents) understand why they did or didn’t earn a badge and fosters a learning community where students pursue shared goals. Students seeking to earn a certain badge can find several examples of success, and students who have earned badges can be recognized for their achievement and become a resource to others. Though it takes a shift in mindset, opening up the badge system turns out to be a win-win situation.
A Word About Assessment
Of course, just initiating a badge system doesn’t magically erase any threat of questioning, misunderstanding, or second guessing. A good badge program needs one or more trusted assessors to keep the badges credible. In order to earn and keep trust, assessors must do the following:
Brad Flickinger is the Technology Resource Facilitator for The Metropolitan School of Panama in Panama City, Panama.