DOE to offer micro-credentials to support state literacy plan

November 4, 2020

For the first time, the Delaware Department of Education will offer educators the opportunity to earn micro-credentials from the state in conjunction with the Delaware Literacy Plan.

A natural extension of the formal and informal learning activities educators engage in every day, micro-credentials are a way to verify an individual’s competence in a specific skill or set of skills. 

“We’re excited about this new opportunity to recognize the professional learning undertaken by our educators. We hope this encourages more educators to challenge themselves and acquire new skills and knowledge,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting.

Digital Promise, a national nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn, is supporting Delaware in its work. Digital Promise provides more than 550 micro-credentials on a wide range of research-backed skills. These micro-credentials are developed, assessed, and awarded by more than 60 partner organizations, ranging from institutes of higher education to districts and nonprofit organizations.

“Micro-credentials provide a way to personalize professional learning for educators,” said Karen Cator, Digital Promise president and CEO. “This new partnership creates a competency-based option for developing and recognizing Delaware’s teachers for their skills in literacy education.”

Delaware will focus its first micro-credentials on early literacy.

Improving third-grade literacy is a key initiative in the state. For nearly half a decade, reading proficiency rates have remained relatively flat, with roughly 52 percent of students reading proficiently at grade level each year since 2015. Addressing this statewide challenge created the impetus for the Delaware Literacy Plan. Through this plan, the state has made a commitment to: provide additional literacy guidance and support to districts and schools; increase targeted professional development opportunities; develop more tools to support educators in eliminating achievement gaps and increase learning across the curriculum for all students in Delaware; increase collaboration among stakeholders; and engage families in supporting literacy.

Literacy and content experts from Delaware schools, institutes of higher education, and the Delaware Department of Education are engaging in learning with Digital Promise to become developers and assessors of high-quality micro-credentials. These micro-credentials will support educators as they develop skills and acquire knowledge to improve professional practice that promotes student success in the area of early literacy.

“Delaware is among a growing number of states leveraging micro-credentials as a way for teachers to demonstrate evidence of effectiveness,” said Odelia Younge, director of micro-credentials at Digital Promise. “We are excited to partner with the Delaware Department of Education to provide this new pathway to recognize educators for their early literacy skills.”

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