More on Merit Badges

Following upon this blog from a few weeks ago, I had another interesting chat about merit badge assessment systems with Bob Hughes, New Visions for Public Schools.  I sat down and Bob spread a handful of old Boy Scout books on the table and I smiled knowing exactly where he was headed–this is how we should do performance assessment.
The Common Core creates a great opportunity to revise state standards and assessments.  By defining competency clusters and related groups of assessments, ‘merit badges’ could replace credits and seat time matriculation.  As demonstrated by Chugach and RISC, this approach allows students to take more responsibility for their learning, extends the day, and has the potential of engaging the community as the classroom.  With the advent of online learning, a new rich variety of content-embedded, adaptive, and diagnostic assessments could be added to more traditional performance assessments (i.e., projects, papers, demonstrations).
Still think merit badges are a key pivot point to more productive and engaging schools.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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1 Comment

Hans Hageman

Thank you for sharing this. I now have somewhere to point when I get into discussions around performance-based assessment.

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