Microcredentialing of English Learner Teaching Skills: An Exploratory Study of Digital Badges as an Assessment Tool
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AbstractDigital badges are a promising innovative tool to support teacher candidates’ instructional skill development. Although digital badges are increasingly utilized in online teaching and learning, their effectiveness is still under investigation. This exploratory study reports on 151 elementary level teacher candidates’ participation and success rate in a digital badge system named MELTS, which was specifically designed for cultivating, assessing, and recognizing 10 specific English learner teaching skills. To earn a digital badge, participants in the study were required to (a) pass online module assessments, (b) participate in coached skill practices, and (c) effectively demonstrate mastery of targeted teaching skills before an expert panel. Findings show that participants who completed the online modules and skills practices were successful in demonstrating the targeted teaching skills to receive MELTS badges. Although participants reported a positive experience in the skill practice sessions, the participation rate in the badging sessions was lower than expected. Implications and challenges are discussed.