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. 
Early Career Professionals: DESE offers nine micro-credentials that support early career educators in their journey to becoming highly effective teachers. Novice teachers can work collaboratively with their administrator or with Retention and Recruitment facilitators at school cooperatives to select the micro-credentials that best meet the needs of early career professionals. 
Pedagogy Assessment Micro-credential: The nine Early Career Professional micro-credentials are available to aspiring teachers employed under a Provisional Professional Teaching License (PPTL). The principal and teacher work collaboratively to determine the micro-credential(s) that may be used as a measure of pedagogical assessment.  
Content Assessment Micro-credential: Aspiring teachers who score within minus two (-2) standard errors of measurement on the Praxis Content Area exam, may complete the DESE approved micro-credentials: Scaffolding Instruction to Drive Student Learning or Using Formative Assessment to Modify Future Instruction as part of an alternative assessment plan. By demonstrating the targeted competencies, aspiring teachers may transition from a provisional teaching license to a standard teaching license.
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