Sample Badge for Citation Skills
Badge name: MLA Citation Skills
Issued by: _____________ , High School Media Center
Learning objective: “Follow a standard format for citation” from CCSS Writing 9-10, Standard 7.
Performance task: To earn this badge, a student has to
demonstrate the ability to create in-text citations of direct
and indirect quotes and format a bibliography correctly
using MLA format, as described on the library website.
Evidence: The student’s final paper will be posted on his/
her online portfolio, which may be linked to the badge.
The school librarian will evaluate the evidence.
At the beginning of a learning challenge, the badge:
Helps students monitor their own learning. By providing
guidelines or a learning path, the badge lets students know,
for example, that a bibliography, indirect quotes, and direct
quotes are three places where citation matters.
Motivates learners. It helps students set goals and envision
success. This is the trickiest step of badging. Students are conditioned to think in “do the work, get a prize” mode. Meaningful badges should be a stretch that students can achieve.
Beware of “gold star syndrome,” where the learner’s goal
shifts from acquiring skills to acquiring a large quantity of
badges. Try to focus on qualitative characteristics, not criteria that focuses on quantity (“Identifies rigorous sources”
instead of “Uses five sources”).
Aligns with best practices in learning and teaching. Badging
begins with the end in mind. Rather than merely doing a series of activities, the instructor thinks about the end goal, then
works backward to envision assessment and learning activities.
What might earning this badge signify for a student after
the challenge has been met? There are myriad possibilities.
Because the badge can be displayed publicly, others can see
the student’s accomplishment. The badge might:
Exempt a student from a future task. For example, the student might be able to bypass an intermediate “bibliography
check” in the future.
Signal readiness for parallel or more complex tasks. The badge
above shows that the student understands MLA formatting. Perhaps in a future project, she can tackle APA style.
Serve as a “star” in a larger “constellation” of skills. Perhaps
the citation badge gets combined with a note-taking badge,
a search badge, and a synthesis badge, which can be exchanged for a “research skills” or “Writing” metabadge.
Unlock privileges. Students can earn the opportunity to use
special equipment, processes, or permissions. Her badge
might give her the chance, for example, to circulate the
room and help others.
Signal to future admissions officers. The badge, especially
if the school is well regarded, could indicate the caliber
of college readiness for a student. Combined with other
badges, it could help her place out of initial coursework.
Signal to future employers. If the student wants a summer job at the local online newspaper, her citation badge,
combined with a badge for interviewing skills, another for
summarization, and a third for completing tasks on time,
could form a constellation indicating her potential as a
well-prepared intern reporter.
Beam Me Up, Scotty
Educators share a commitment to creating well-rounded,
curious students and a concern that assessment metrics
provide only a partial snapshot of a student’s skills and dispositions. Digital badging may offer learners a flexible, inclusive ecosystem that connects formal and informal learning, skills and dispositions, and competencies and abilities.
Our conversations about digital badging have compelled
us to re-evaluate the content, context, and assessment of
learning. As we have worked through badging projects,
we have asked ourselves, How do we define evidence of
learning Is skill development a yes or no proposition?
Do we badge developing skills or just those that have been
mastered? How do we know that learning has stuck? And
how do we use badging to promote intrinsic motivation,
not merely relabeling extrinsic sticker charts as badging?
Whether you ultimately adopt badging or not, these are
critical conversations for critical times, and badging
offers us a fresh opportunity to articulate who we want
our graduates to be and how we help them get there.
Kristin Fontichiaro is a clinical assistant professor at the
University of Michigan School of Information and faculty
coordinator of the Michigan Makers projects on makerspaces and badging.
Angela Elkordy is a doctoral candidate in educational
leadership, with an instructional technologies cognate at
Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education. She
is lead developer for a badging system in a graduate certificate program.