- Micro-credentials, which are awarded for mastery of specific skills, have become a phenomenon in the higher education space, and K-12 systems could adapt them to professional development in schools.
- Education Next reports the competency-based credentials sit in stark contrast with traditional professional development, where credits are awarded based on seat time, but micro-credentials have to become tied to teacher salaries or advancement opportunities to be valuable.
- Surveys have shown few teachers are aware of micro-credentials, but when they hear about them, they say they are interested — though experts warn micro-credentials should be adapted to PD only if they are awarded based on concrete skills that actually improve practice and student outcomes.
Teachers routinely complain that the quality of their professional development is lacking. While teachers want continuing education and opportunities to hone their craft, school districts rarely offer what they say they want or need. Micro-credentials are offered for many short-term programs at colleges and universities, and a growing number of alternative education providers have created some, too.
As more micro-credentials are created to reward skills that are critical to teaching, school districts would do well to embrace them. Some school districts are already considering their own form of micro-credentials or badges for teachers who go through leadership academies and, in the meantime, offering them hiring preference to these new leaders when positions open up.