Why are Badges for School-Age Learners Different?


I just finished watching the video of the fantastic second live session for the MOOC Learning Beyond Letter Grades.  The panelists Sheryl GrantJonathan Finkelstein and Sunny Lee present an excellent introduction to Open Badges and the reasons that we at Forall Systems are so enthusiastic about the Open Badge movement.  The panel got me thinking about some of the ways that badges are different for school-age learners.

For most learners, the main focus of Open Badges is to “Get recognition for skills you learn anywhere.”  Inherent in the idea of getting recognition is the assumption that badges can open up opportunities and the viewer/evaluator of a badge will be a potential employer, a university or colleagues.  In developing ForAllBadges, we have been interested in thinking about badges for kids as a tool for supporting learning.  In a perfect world, learning opportunities are not a limited resource and children don’t have to compete for access.

During the live session, I jotted down some of the ways that thinking about badges as a tool for learning changes how badges are designed, issued and displayed.

  • The most important evaluator of badges for learning is the learner themselves.  Badges can provide the framework for learners to reflect on their learning experiences and plan for future learning activities. Teachers and parents can use the badges to help support learning, but ideally the learner takes ownership of their own learning process.
  • Authentic assessment and the evidence associated with the badge is often more important than the badge itself.  A video of a science fair presentation or an essay often has more value than the badge or evaluation rubric associated with it.
  • Badges for learning are inherently lifelong.  For a seven year old, their third place finish in the 2nd grade science fair at their elementary school is an accomplishment to be proud of.  Ten years later, when they’re applying to university, the badge itself isn’t worth much.  However the evidence associated with the badge provides an opportunity for the young adult, in writing their application essay, to reflect on their lifelong interest in ecology and include a quote or video from their 7 year old self.  In many ways, these authentic assessments become more valuable as life goes on.
  • Badges can provide the structure for effectively reflecting on progress.  Fundamental skills are often a lifelong pursuit.  For example, writing well is something that all of us can always improve on.  By presenting a timeline view of badges that are aligned with the Common Core Anchor Standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.1, learners can reflect on their progress over time in learning to write strong arguments.  The badge and the standards alignment provide the structure to display the authentic writing samples in a meaningful way.
  • Badges can provide the structure for discovering learning opportunities.  A badge displayer such as Badgopolis can provide a view of learning opportunities that relate to the learners previous interests and also present information about how to access those opportunities.

Of course this approach of designing badges for learning is not only applicable to school-aged learners and is a perspective that can also be valuable in other circumstances. If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading my thoughts!  Please share your you ideas too.  This is a  fascinating topic and is only just starting to be explored.

21st Century Badge Pathways

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The  website for the 21st Century Badge Pathways project is up!  The project will be officially announced in November at the Association of California School Administrators Leadership Summit.  At that time, 21st Century Badge Pathways will also be available as an open source project.  We’re looking forward to sharing the outstanding work Corona-Norco USD has done in designing Passport to Success: College and Career Readiness.

New Features in ForAllRubrics


We’ve released some exciting new features:

  • New WELCOME Page
  • Improved MY CLASS Page
  • Teacher control for when scored rubrics are published to students
  • Better support for activities

New Welcome Page

We have been working hard to provide more documentation and help for teachers using ForAllRubrics.  As part of these efforts, we created a new Welcome Page.

welcome page

Improved MY CLASS Page

Now, if “All Results” is selected then the MY CLASS page shows all the scores for the selected rubric:

All Results

If “Most Recent” is selected then the MY CLASS page shows only the most recent score for each student (as before):

most recent

The labeled features are:

A. The school year you are currently working with.  If you have used ForAllRubrics for more than one year, you can access previous years rubrics and scores.
B. The classroom you are currently working with.
C. The rubric you are currently working with.
D. In the header of the table, a selection box for selecting the most recent rubric for all the students at once.  Once the students are selected you can “Email”, “Print”, or “Publish” their scored rubrics with a click of a button.  Also in the header are arrows for sorting by last name, activity, percent score, number of items scored and who did the scoring.
E. A selection box for individual students.
F. An orange “plus” icon to begin scoring the rubric for that student.
G. The  activity for the rubric (if one is selected) and the date of the most recent assessment for the student. If you click on the date, you can see the detailed scored rubric.
H. The student’s score on the rubric. Any items that weren’t scored will be considered “N/A, not applicable” and won’t be included in the total possible points.
I. The computed percentage on the rubric. Any items that weren’t scored will be considered “N/A, not applicable” and won’t be included in the computation of the percentage.
J. How many of the items were scored. If all the items were scored, a “check”.
K. Who scored the rubric (Teacher, the student for themselves or a peer)
L. An icon to publish the scored rubric with the student.  Until you publish the scored rubric, the information will not be available to the student.  If the scored rubric is published, you can click on the icon again to unpublish it and make it unavailable to the student.
M. An icon to print the completed rubric.
N. An icon to email the complete rubric to the emails associated with the student’s account (specified on the Admin/Manage Students page).
O. An icon to access the student’s journal.
P. An icon to delete the most recent completed rubric.

More support for activities

Now, if an activity is selected on the MY CLASS page, then only scored rubrics that are associated with that activity will be displayed.

only 1 activity

When you are scoring a rubric, you will now be able to choose from the activities you’ve specified before or create a new activity.

Select Activity

We hope you find these new features make ForAllRubrics more useful in your classroom.  Please keep the feedback coming!

ForAllRubrics How To: Assessing With the Buck Institute for Education Rubrics

BIE rubrics

A library of high quality rubrics from the Buck Institute for Education are now featured in ForAllRubrics.  More information on, “How to use BIE’s rubrics to assess 21st century competencies in PBL” is available from BIE.  On EdutopiaAndrew Miller describes how to use BIE’s rubrics for implementing Critical Assessment Ideas in your classroom.

All you need to do to get started with the BIE Rubrics on ForAllRubrics is to sign up for a free teacher account at ForAllRubrics.

free teacher acct

Once you’re logged in, click on the Library and BIE tabs to get to the BIE Rubrics.

BIE rubrics

For any rubric in the library, you can:

  1. copy the rubric into your personal rubric library
  2. view the rubric
  3. print the rubric (either send it to your printer or save it as a pdf file)

BIE rubrics

For more information on getting started with ForAllRubrics, take a look at this series of blog posts:

Launching Digital Badges to Motivate 21st Century Learners


Together with April Moore and Kelly Bruce from the Corona-Norco USD, we will be speaking at the Association of California School Administrators Leadership Summit.  The description of our Practice Session on, “Launching Digital Badges to Motivate 21st Century Learners” is below.

This interactive workshop will briefly highlight a district’s use of digital badges to motivate students to become college and career ready and will provide a synopsis of the research of motivational theories as they apply to the digital badging movement.  Participants will break into small groups and engage in a process to develop their own digital badges. Facilitators will conduct a share out session capturing ideas generated for uses of students’ digital badges. Participants will receive promotional materials, launch kits, access to an open source digital badge portal, and the opportunity to join an educator digital badge usergroup.

We’re looking forward to sharing the outstanding work the Corona-Norco USD has done in designing the Passport to Success: College and Career Readiness system with other school districts.  If you’re going to be at the conference, come say hello to us!

ForAllRubrics How to: Peer- and Self- Assessment


This post will walk you through two ways to use ForAllRubrics to support our most requested feature, student self- and peer- assessment.

  1. With the teacher’s account on the ForAllRubrics Mobile App
  2. With the student’s account on the ForAllRubrics Website

Approach 1: With the teacher’s account on the ForAllRubrics Mobile App

Teachers can use their own teacher account to login into ForAllRubrics Offline on their iPads and  pass the iPads out to the students to use. They can use their one account on multiple iPads.  The students can use the rubric comments field to indicate who did the assessment.  This works especially well, if you aren’t able to give students their own accounts.


Approach 2: With the student’s account on the ForAllRubrics Website

Another approach is to have the students do the self- or peer- assessments with their personal accounts.  For an introduction to student accounts, see the post, “ForAllRubrics How To: Student Journals.”  Below are the steps for enabling your rubrics for student self- and peer- assessment.

When you’re editing a rubric that you want student to access, make sure that you’re in advance mode and the rubric has the “Allow Students to Self/Peer Assess” checkbox selected.  When you select the checkbox a default badge will be created.  You can customize the badge, by clicking on the badge name next to “Assign Badge”.

set student assessment flag

To set up student user accounts go to the Admin/Manage Students page.

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Create student accounts by setting their email addresses and assigning passwords.

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Students can then login to ForAllRubrics using their accounts. Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 1.57.42 PM

When the student logs in and goes to the “Classmate Badges” page, she sees all the students in her class (including themselves) and can choose who to assess.

self- peer- assessment

Once the student selects who to assess, they will see the badges that are shared with them and they can choose which badge to assess for.

choose badge

When the student chooses the badge to use the appropriate rubric will pop-up and she can enter her scores.

peer assessment

When the assessment is complete, the student can now see the badge they have issued.

peer award

When you login as the teacher, you will see the rubric that was assessed by the student.

student score rubric

You can click on the date the rubric was assessed to see the details of the assessment.

peer assessed rubric

When the assessed student logs in to her account, she sees a journal entry with information about the rubric assessment.

peer's view

When she clicks on “View Rubric Results,” she sees the details of the rubric scoring and can download the completed rubrics as a pdf file or print it.

peer rubric

Please let us know your thoughts on self- and peer- assessment in ForAllRubrics.  We’d really welcome your feedback.

ForAllRubrics How To: Student Journals


The student journal is the communication center for student accounts on ForAllRubrics.  When a student first logs in, she sees her journal.  In the example below, the top entry is a journal entry that was added by the student Lola about her experience presenting her project at the science fair.

Student Journal 1

Teachers can view the journal for any of their students by clicking on the “journal” icon on the MY CLASS page.Journal Icon

When a teacher completes a rubric for a student, the results appear in the student’s journal.  Below you can see that the “Demo Teacher” assessed the student with the “Free Art” rubric.  The teacher’s comments that were entered while the scoring the rubric are displayed to the student.

rubric in journal

When the student is viewing the information about the completed rubric, they can:

  • choose to see the details of the rubrics by clicking on “View Rubric Results,”
  • add their own comments and
  • personalize the image associated with the rubric.

Journal - Student Activities

If the student clicks on “View Rubric Results,” they are taken to a print view of the scored rubric where they have the option to either download the scored rubric as a pdf or send the scored rubric to a printer.

view rubric results

Our student Lola, has added a comment and personalized the badge by making a photo of her artwork the image.

journal - student comment & image

This quick introduction to the Student Journal should help you get started with using ForAllRubrics to communicate with your students.  For more information on setting up student accounts, take a look at the post ForAllRubrics How To: Setting Up Your Roster.  There are more posts on the way, including information on how ForAllRubrics supports self- and peer- assessment for students.