Badge-Based STEM Assessment: Current Terrain and the Road Ahead
Michelle Riconscente, PI, New York Hall of Science
Margaret Honey, Co-PI, New York Hall of Science

Advisory Board
Chris Dede, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Barry Fishman, University of Michigan
Louis Gomez, UCLA
Dan Hickey, University of Indiana
Dan Schwartz, Stanford
Connie Yowell, MacArthur Foundation

Badges have a long history as visual markers of achievement or accomplishment, as for instance in the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and military. More recently, several convergent factors—including new technologies and increased learning opportunities beyond formal school settings—have spurred the adoption of badges in arena of lifelong learning. Efforts to develop “open badge” technology systems, and to create badge-based assessment systems, have taken hold and attracted a broad range of stakeholders, from policy makers to informal learning organizations to K16 educators to funders. Although substantial progress is being made in advocating, developing, and implementing badges for learning, to date there does not exist a synthesis of these efforts across organizations and individuals.

With support from the National Science Foundation, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) is conducting an in-depth study of the current state of badges, including conceptualizations, rationale, systems, key contributors, and to identify challenges as well as opportunities for STEM-related badges. We are currently generating a draft report based on an intensive research study of the state of the field, and soliciting feedback to inform a final report. On April 1, 2013, we will gather over 100 national leaders—representing K12 education, technology industry, learning sciences, higher education, informal science, and education policy— to provide critical feedback on the draft report. We will integrate feedback from the working meeting into the report, which will subsequently be reviewed by an expert panel. The completed report will be available in June 2013.

This project is a natural extension of NYSCI’s growing focus on research and assessment of science in formal and informal settings, and leverages internal expertise in assessment, STEM learning, and research.