Micro-credentials or Mini-certifications
Teaching Point offers over 100 subject-specific micro-credentials for $240 per online course plus the cost of the text (teacher manual with daily lesson plans, editable PowerPoints, labs and activities and editable assessments for the entire school year). The micro-credential portion of the course provides the online pre- and post-tests and mentoring teacher access.
Note: Contact us to discuss your school, or school district’s, approval to add the course you choose to their professional education/development program for half the hours toward periodic teacher license renewal upon successfully passing the post-test.
Education research has identified a link between teacher training and collaboration and better student outcomes. The article posted below summarizes research that determined that using micro-credentials is helpful for teachers in getting the professional learning they need. Indeed, micro-credentials can play a big role: during initial licensing, in recertification, for teacher evaluation and for developing career pathways. “Micro-credentials are attractive to teachers because they create a way for them to free themselves from long-standing, one-size-fits-all professional development,” the report stated.
Some of the Teaching Point courses are combined when choosing the micro-credentialing option, these include the following: Elementary Art K-6, Elementary Music K-5, Language Arts Grades 2-5, and both semesters (or years) of the following: Art 1, Astronomy, Earth Science, ESL K-12, HTML, IB MYP Tech, MS Journalism, Physics, Pre-Algebra, TV Production and World History. As a result of the expanded content of these combined courses, a different course material fee will apply and is available upon request.
Micro-credentials Report: The Right Policies Are Needed for Micro-credentials to Succeed
Thejournal.com, By Dian Schaffhauser, 06/12/19
The micro-credential universe is expanding. Digital Promise and the National Education Association (note also offering subject-specific micro-credentials: teaching-point.net) are running considerable micro-credential programs. Fifteen state education agencies have either launched micro-credential pilots or are dabbling in them in some way. Pre-service and in-service teacher education is finding a use for them, including issuing college credit.
A new whitepaper from two education nonprofits has examined the challenges and possibilities posed using micro-credentials as a structure for helping teachers get the professional learning they need. “Micro-credentials and Education Policy in the United States,” written by the Center for Teaching Quality and commissioned by Digital Promise, noted that these “mini-certifications” have appeared on the scene “at an auspicious time.” Education research has identified a link between teacher training and collaboration and better student outcomes. Yet, as the authors explained, “good ideas get to scale only if the right policies and practices are in place.”
To develop its findings, CTQ conducted a review of teacher policy reports, surveyed directors of teacher education and certification in education agencies and spoke with state and district leaders as well as teachers involved in micro-credential programs.
The authors found four “strands of teaching policy” where micro-credentials can play a big role: during initial licensing, in recertification, for teacher evaluation and for developing career pathways. During each of these aspects of the teaching career, as the report acknowledged, there are still “more questions than answers.” For example, during recertification, policy questions surface regarding who should review the evidence developed during the micro-credentialing process and what kinds of “safeguards” need to be put in place to ensure that these credits “represent a more meaningful professional learning experience” than what’s currently used for continuing education units.
The report offers five areas where specific policy decisions should focus to make sure micro-credentials retain their effectiveness:
- Maintaining quality: The report advises that states or districts develop “teams of educators, administrators, and researchers” to guide the use of micro-credentials and make sure they adhere to high levels of quality.
- Quantifying the value: Decisions need to be made about how to value micro-credentials — with stipends, bumps in pay, continuing education credit, pathways to advanced degrees or something else.
- Opening time for training: Professional development of any flavor requires time on the clock to accomplish, and effective teaching policies need to account for that.
- Recognizing teacher-leaders: The report suggested that policies need to be made “more explicit” about how educators are recognized for earning micro-credentials as “demonstrations of learning and leading.” Development of these teacher-leaders needs funding.
- Getting buy-in: Policy on micro-credentialing also needs to consider what teachers say they want and need for professional development and developing a system for delivering that.
“Micro-credentials are attractive to teachers because they create a way for them to free themselves from long-standing, one-size-fits-all professional development,” the report stated. But for this new form of certified training to have the impact it portends; teachers need to play the front-runner role in “their own development individually and collectively.”
The report is openly available through the Digital Promise website.
The need for subject-specific micro-credentialing courses: Digital Promise and NEA have many micro-credentialing courses in areas relating to classroom management, teaching strategies, etc., yet, apparently none that are content-based with instructional support materials for teachers with new classroom assignments in various STEAM and other subject-areas. That said, over 100 subject-specific micro-credentialing courses are available through the Teaching and Learning Foundation (https://www.thetlf.org) and Teaching Point (https://www.teaching-point.net) . Each course provides a full school year of subject-specific instructional support with pacing guide, suggested daily lesson plans, editable PowerPoint lecture notes, complete student activity book or lab manual, editable tests and quizzes and mentoring teacher access. School districts can approve these courses as additions to their existing professional development program where teachers enrolled must take a pre-test and pass a post-test to confirm increased content mastery to be awarded hours toward license renewal in a district professional development program. This Expert Systems for Teachers® program has been empirically proven with over 775 enrollments confirming improved content mastery by way of average teacher scores rising from a failing 58% in pre-testing to 90% in post-testing. These courses provide a “just-in-time” management program for both principals and teachers when an unavoidable new assignment comes along. Beyond development, the program also assists in the recruitment and retention of teachers.