Professional Learning Through Micro-Credentials

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What are micro-credentials? 

A micro-credential is personalized, job-embedded, competency-based professional learning. Educators select micro-credentials to improve a discrete skill related to instructional practice, students’ needs, school-improvement goals, or professional-growth goals. Educators earn digital badges for successful completion of the micro-credential to display as evidence of effective and consistent use of the target skill or concept in their professional practice. 

Why earn micro-credentials? 

The current system of obtaining professional development credits tends to produce a system of compliance to “seat time” rather than true professional learning. Teachers have expressed that many professional development offerings are “not relevant, not effective, and most of all, not connected to their core work of helping students learn.” Micro-credentials allow educators time to learn, reflect, and implement content that will impact their professional practices and lead to higher achievement for all students. The majority of micro-credential issuers provide teachers with a coach (usually remote) to guide and support them through the micro-credential process. 

How are micro-credentials being used in Arkansas? 

In an effort to improve professional development experiences for Arkansas teachers, the DESE has joined with other innovators in education to encourage the use of micro-credentials for professional learning. Arkansas educators have currently earned over 1,000 micro-credentials and DESE has established approved micro-credentials as part of a transformational shift toward job-embedded professional learning. 

Content Assessment Micro-credentials: An educator who scores within -2 Standard Errors of Measure (SEM) from the qualifying score on their content area assessment may supplement the content area score by completing an approved micro-credential. Successful completion of the micro-credential and other requirements of the AAP qualify the teacher for a standard teaching license. Educators must be issued their provisional license under the AAP prior to purchasing a micro-credential. Currently, the following micro-credentials are available to teachers eligible for an APP:

  • Recognizing and Upholding Academic Rigor
  • Leveraging Formative Assessment During a Math Lesson
  • Leveraging Formative Assessment During an ELA Lesson

Pedagogy Assessment Micro-credential: An educator teaching under a Provisional Professional Teaching License (PPTL) may choose to complete micro-credentials to take the place of the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) as a measure of pedagogical assessment. In addition, the PPTL educator may complete micro-credentials to fulfill the requirement for the additional 12 hours of training in pedagogy each year. Currently, the following micro-credentials are available to teachers working under a PPTL:

  • Building Positive Relationships with Students
  • Implementing Collaborative Learning Structures
  • Leveraging Effective Instructional Practices 
Arkansas Teacher Career Continuum: Career Professionals seeking to earn the Master Teacher or Lead Teacher Professional designation can select from approved micro-credential pathways to earn these distinctions for licensure. 
Additional Opportunities: Districts may elect to use stacks of micro-credentials to create opportunities for advancement on the district’s salary schedule.

For more information, please contact:

Bobette Ray, Program Advisor
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Office of Educator Effectiveness
Four Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-683-1224