Badges How to: Using Your Classroom Rubrics to Design a Badge System

Recently teachers and administrators have been asking us for ideas on how to go about implementing badges in their own schools.  In this post, I’m going to describe two approaches for how to take existing classroom rubrics and design complimentary badge systems.  This approach has several advantages:

  • a significant part of the work necessary for designing the badge system has already been done in developing the rubric,
  • teachers can continue to assess students with a proven rubric and
  • the badge system integrates well with the existing learning activities.

Approach 1:  Recognize Skills and Achievements

A primary motivation for Mozilla’s development of Open Badges was in order to recognize skills and achievements that aren’t traditionally recognized.

openbadges

Teachers in areas such as Physical Education, Technology, Special Education and Art are already seeing the value of badges for recognizing their students’ achievements.  This approach is to creating a badge system is demonstrated by Warren Grieve in his ICT Ladders for Badges.  Below is an example rubric he previously developed for evaluating skills with MIT’s Scratch programming language.

Scratch-Rubric

Below are the complementary badges that he designed for ICT Ladders for Badges that correspond to each of the levels of achievement in the rubric.  The criteria for earning a badge is the same as the criteria specified in the original rubric.

basic_scratch_skills_badgeproficient_scratch_skills_badgeadvanced_scratch_skills_badgeexpert_scratch_skills_badge

Like with girl scout badges, this type of badge system provides students a way to:

  • set goals by identifying badges to work towards,
  • reflect on the goals they’ve already reached and
  • share their accomplishments with others.

Approach 2:  Scaffold Learning

A common use for rubrics in the classroom is for supporting student learning and development.  This kind of instructional rubric is typically written in student-friendly language to help students evaluate their own work and improve overtime.  This use of rubrics is well demonstrated by the set of rubrics provided by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to support student learning for effectively solving math word problems.  This set of rubrics includes a scoring rubric for use by the teacher and three age appropriate versions of the rubric for use by students.

The  rubric below is the scoring rubric for use by elementary school teachers to inform instruction.  (click on the rubric for a larger image)

Scoring-Rubric

The  rubric below is the instructional rubric for use by 3rd and 4th grade students to support learning.  (click on the rubric for a larger image)

Student-Rubric

The process of learning how to solve math word problems is an ongoing learning activity and requires a significant amount of practice and feedback.  The student friendly rubric is effective at making it clear to students what the expectations are for this learning activity.

In our design for a set of badges that correspond to ISBE’s student friendly rubric, the first change we made was to convert the “Items for Evaluation”  in the original rubric to “Roles to Achieve” in the badge system as follows:

  • Mathematical Knowledge (Do you know it?) —> Math Wizard
  • Strategic Knowledge (How do you plan?) —> Master Detective
  • Explanation (Can you explain it?) —> Expert Explainer

The second change we made was to eliminate the score of zero.  By its nature, badge criteria is positive.  Although it makes sense to award a score of zero if the student doesn’t attempt an answer.  It doesn’t make as much sense to award a badge for doing nothing.

Below is what our initial badges look like.

Student_Badges

The last change we made was to convert the scoring guidelines to badge criteria by removing negative scoring guidelines, since the negative guidelines are implicitly included in the leveled badges.  Below is the the criteria for Math Wizard badges including the struck out text from the original Grade 3-4 Student Rubric for Mathematical Knowledge.

Level 4 Badge Criteria (the same as for scoring rubric)

  • I get the right answer.
  • I label my answer correctly.
  • I use the right math words to show I understand how math works. (Example: I know when to add or subtract.)
  • I work it out with no mistakes.

Level 3 Badge Criteria (almost the same as for scoring rubric)

  • I do the problem, but I and only make small mistakes.

Level 2 Badge Criteria 

  • I understand a little, but I make a lot of big mistakes.
  • I only give part of the answer.

Level 1 Badge Criteria

  • I try to do the problem, but I don’t understand it.

Level 0 – Badge Criteria (no such badge)

  • I don’t try to answer the problem.

With the development of our badge system, we now have three different views of the assessment that all work well together:

  • the teacher scoring rubric for assessing the student’s progress,
  • the student instructional rubric for understanding the expectations and
  • the student badge system for visualizing the learning path.

ForAllRubrics + Badges

We’re in the process of developing a new version of ForAllRubrics that supports both Rubrics and Badges.  This new version will support a badge design process like what has been described in this post.  It will let teachers complete scoring rubrics and the system will automatically generate the appropriate badges for the students.  The students (and their parents) will be able to view the student friendly rubric to understand the scoring on a particular assignment.  The teacher, the student and their parents can view the student’s awarded badges to reflect on the student’s accomplishments to date and view potential badges for setting goals for the future.

If you’re interested helping us test out our new “ForAllRubrics + Badges” and giving us feedback, please send us an email to info@forallsystems.com and we’ll get you set up.  We greatly appreciate comments and suggestions.

New Version of ForAllBadges for iOS & Android

We are excited to announce a new version of our mobile app for ForAllBadges which is now available on both the Apple App Store & Google Play Store!

Last May we released the first version of ForAllBadges for iOS with support for the iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad.  We learned a lot from the initial pilot of the software at a Mozilla Hack Jam in Bloomington, Indiana organized by Dan Hickey and Rebecca Itow from the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University.

Based on the very useful feedback from our pilot users, we have made a bunch of changes to the application:

2Selecting a Student 

We updated the select student screen so that now more students fit on the screen at a time and you now get an indicator for students who do not have any badges issued to them.  You can now create student accounts directly from the mobile application!


3Student Detail Page

Based on feedback from our pilot we added this page which gives you the ability to view all badges issued to the student.  You can tap on any of the badges to view details.  You can also edit the student’s information and issue a new badge.


4Selecting a Badge

The badge selection screen has been optimized to fit more content on the screen, so it’s even easier to find the badge you want to issue!


5Issuing a Badge

Just like the previous version, you can take a picture and attach it as evidence for the badge.  You can also select a photo that has been saved in the device’s photo library.


androidSupport for Android Devices

We are excited to announce that ForAllBadges now supports Android smartphones and tablets!  The app can be downloaded directly from the Google Play Store.


ForAllBadges Website Updates

In addition to all of the updates to the mobile versions of ForAllBadges, we have also made improvements to the website version of ForAllBadges:

  • Support for claim codes:  Teachers can now print stickers of claim codes for badges and award badges to students in the classroom by handing out claim codes that the students can then redeem on the website.
  • Bulk badge issuing:  Teachers can now select multiple students and issue a badge to all of them with just one click.
  • Email notifications:  When badges are issued the student can now automatically receive an email with information on how to access the badge.
As always, we love to hear feedback from our users.  Let us know what you think and if you have any ideas for features you would like to add to the application.