Thursday, August 26, 2021

New Article about Situative Assessment

The awesome Diane Conrad of Athabasca University guest-edited a special issue of Distance Education on assessment and was kind enough to accept our proposal to present our situative approach to online grading, assessment, and testing:

Hickey, D., & Harris, T. (2021). Reimagining online grading, assessment, and testing using situated cognition. Distance Education42(2), 290-309.

The first part of the paper reframes the  "multilevel" model of assessment introduced in a 2012 article in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching and a 2013 article in the Journal of Learning Sciences for online settings.  

  1. Immediate-Level Ungraded Assessment of Online Discourse via Instructor Comments
  2. Close-Level Graded Assessment of Engagement via Informal Reflections
  3. Proximal Formative ­Self-Assessments
  4. Automated Distal Summative Achievement Tests

The second part of the article introduces ten new assessment design principles, 
  1. Embrace Situative Reconciliation over Aggregative Reconciliation.
  2. Focus on Assessment Functions Rather than Purposes.  
  3. Synergize Multiple Complementary Types of Interaction
  4. Use Increasingly Formal Assessments that Capture Longer Timescales of Learning
  5. Embrace Transformative Functions and Systemic Validity
  6. Position Learners as Accountable Authors
  7. Reposition Minoritized Learners for Equitable Engagement
  8. Enhance Validity of Evidence for Designers, Evaluators, and Researchers  
  9. Enhance Credibility of Scores and Efficiency for Educators
  10. Enhance Credibility of Assessments and Grades for Learners
I was particularly pleased with the new ideas under the seventh principle.  We were able to use Agarwal and Sengupta-Irvings (2019) critique of Engle & Conants (2002) Productive Disciplinary Engagement framework and their new Connected and Productive Disciplinary Engagement framework,  It forms the core of our Culturally Sustaining Classroom Assessment framework that we will be presenting for the first time at the Culturally Relevant Evaluation and Assessment conference in Chicago in late September, 2021.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

New Articles and Chapters about Open Badges

 We got out of the habit of putting up a blog post as new papers got published.  I don't have any grant funding for my work with badges anymore (but thanks for six great years MacFound).  But that has not stopped us from publishing from prior funded research.  References are hotlinked to copies of the papers

Where Badges Work Better

This article reports the follow-up findings from our study of the 30 badge systems that MacArthur funded in 2012.  We followed up two years after their funding was exhausted to determine which systems resulted in a "thriving" badge-based ecosystem.  Most of the constructivist "completion-badge" systems and associationist "competency-badge" systems failed to thrive, many never got past piloting and some never issued any badges.  Turned out that wildly optimistic plans for assessing competency or completion undermined the project.  In contrast, most of the sociocultural "participation-badge" systems were still thriving, in part because they relied on peer assessment and because they assessed social learning rather than individual completion or competency:


Badges in the Assessment BOOC

This chapter describes Google-funded "Big Open Online Course" ("BOOC") which really pushed the limits of open badges, including one of the first examples of "peer endorsement" and "peer promotion." It also showed that our asynchronous model of participatory learning and assessment (PLA) could be used at scale to support highly interactive learning with almost no instructor engagement with open learners:

The Varied Functions of Open Badges

This chapter used the BOOC badges to illustrate how badges to illustrate the range of functions of open badges.  It shows how badges support the shift (a) from measuring achievement to capturing learning. (b) from credentialing graduates to recognizing learning, (c) from compelling achievement to motivating learning, and (d) from accrediting schools and programs to endorsing learning:

This chapter used example badges from sustainable/sustainability education to similarly illustrate these four functions of digital badges.  The badges came from Ilona Buchem's  EU-funded Open Virtual Mobility project and the FAO e-Learning Academy from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.  BTW, the e-Learning Academy features some of the best self-paced open courses I have ever seen.  the assessments are great and you really can't prank them.  If it says the course will take two hours it is really impossible to earn the badges without spending two hours learning (I tried!):

Situative Motivational Principles for Open Badges

Finally, this 2017 chapter presents the situative model of assessment that was first published in Hickey (2003) in the context of open badges.  It is my response to people like Mitch Resnick who claim that open badges will undermine intrinsic motivation.  I agree with him that they will if you use them as meaningless tokens.  So don't do that Mitch!  Instead take advantage of the fact that badges contain meaningful information and can circulate in social networks and gain more meaning, which has consistently been shown to enhance free-choice engagement:

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

New articles on Participatory Learning and Assessment (including inclusion)

  Yikes, it has been a long time since we have posted.  Partly what happened is we redirected our energy from blogging to publishing.  Starting in 2019, we began translating the theory-laden design principles to practical steps for readers who may or may not be grounded in sociocultural theories. This was serendipitous in light of the pandemic and the explosion of interest in asynchronous online learning. 

In contrast to our earlier articles, these new articles reflect the influence of current research on power and privilege in the learning sciences.  Each includes design principles and/or steps that are intended to "reposition" minoritized learners.  In particular, the changes reflect the influence of papers by Priyanka Agarwal and Tesha Sengupta-Irving on Connective and Productive Disciplinary Engagement (CPDE, 2019) Each of the descriptions below is hotlinked to a copy of the article.

This first article is a very gentle introduction to online participatory learning and assessment (PLA). It was written for educators with no experience teaching online and who are not grounded in any particular theory of learning

This article describes how we translated the PLA principles into fourteen steps, focusing on engagement routines.  It was written for instructional designers and others who are grounded in more conventional cognitive-associationist and cognitive-constructivist theories of learning

This one introduces ten new situative assessment design principles, building on the "multi-level" assessment model in Hickey and Zuiker (2012).  While it includes the theoretical grounding, it was written for readers who might not be grounded in situative theory.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Competencies in Context #5: Increasing the Value of Certificates from LinkedIn Learning

By Daniel Hickey and Chris Andrews

The previous post in this series explored LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations. Chris and Dan used those features to locate a potential consultant with particular skills and considered recent refinements to those features. We also explore the new LinkedIn Learning site made possible by the acquisition of In this post, we explore how endorsements and recommendations might help LinkedIn earn back the roughly $300,000 that they paid for each of's 5000 courses. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Competencies in Context #4: eCredentialing via LinkedIn Recommendations and Endorsements

by Daniel Hickey and Chris Andrews

In the second post in this series on eCredentialing, Dan discussed how new digital Learning Recognition Networks (LRNs) can simultaneously support the goals of learners, educators, schools, recruiters, and admissions officers. A reader posted a question on that post about how the endorsement practices afforded by these new LRNs build on the existing endorsement practices, like those at LinkedIn. Since its launch in 2002, LinkedIn has grown into the largest digital LRN in existence. So, this is a great question. Dan did some digging using his own network to hunt for someone with very specific competencies, while Chris dug into the recent research and improvements to LinkedIn Endorsements. We also peeked into the new LinkedIn Learning made possible by the acquisition of

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Competencies in Context #3: Open Endorsement 2.0 is Coming

By Daniel Hickey and Nate Otto

In the third post of this series, we discuss the Open Badge Specification and its shift from the Badge Alliance to the IMS Global Learning Consortium in 2017. We then discuss the crucial Endorsement features that will be supported in the forthcoming 2.0 Specifications. We will use the example of Luis Lopez's HIPAA badge described in the first post in this series to consider how these new features might operate. This illustrates how Endorsement 2.0 will be crucial in the new Learning Recognition Networks that Dan described in the second post in this series

Monday, November 21, 2016

Competencies in Context #2: LRNs for Micro-Masters and eCertificates

By Daniel Hickey

In this detailed post, I discuss the announced release date of the MyMantl Learning Recognition Network (LRN) from Chalk & Wire and argue that such digital LRNs can add value to online career and professional education programs. This includes more conventional continuing education programs and newer MOOC-based "micromasters" programs. Both types of programs promise inexpensive short-term solutions for career entry/change/advance, but they introduce serious challenges for assessment and accountability. New digital LRNs can help.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Competencies in Context #1: New Developments at Portfolium

By Dan Hickey
In this detailed post, I illustrate how the Portfolium ePortfolio platform is breaking new ground with digital badges and new networking features that readily connect learners and potential employers.  In particular, I highlight my own interaction with a student in LA around one of the badges he earned in his coursework. I presented this example in talks at ePIC in Bologna and Mozfest in London and lots of people had questions about it. What I find particularly exciting about these developments is how it shows healthy competition to around the most effective communication about competencies and evidence of competencies among educators, learners, and employers. The communication is crucial because it provides information about the context in which students competencies were developed and (therefore) the range of contexts where those competencies will be most readily deployed in the future.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Badges + ePortfolios = Helping Turn Artifacts into Open Learning Recognition Networks

by Dan Hickey

This post summarizes a meeting between representatives of six leading ePortfolio providers, four digital badge providers, and four professional associations on August 2 in Boston at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL)
We searched for and found synergy between these two crucial technologies that are helping innovators re-imagine how learning can be represented in the Internet era. They are starting to come together to create what some are calling Learning Recognition Networks (LRNs).

This meeting also brings to a close the two-year Open Badges in Higher Education (OBHE) project, carried out with the support of the MacArthur Foundation. We will be discussing the Boston meeting and future directions for LRNs in the next Open Badges Community Call hosted by the Badge Alliance. The call is at 1200 noon EST on August 31 and all are welcome and encouraged to join (meeting at this Uberconference link).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Traditional Approaches to Validity in Assessment Innovation (Part 2: Consequential Validity)

This is the second post in a series on the topic of validity in educational assessment. In my first post, I described the traditional characterization of content-related, criterion-related, and construct-related evidence as they are relevant to educators and credentialing innovators who use and design assessments. This post summarizes traditional characterizations of consequential validity. This aspect of validity concerns the broader consequences of administering assessments to learners and using the resulting scores. It is a complex idea that is really crucial to many assessment and credentialing innovators (because broader change is their goal). Many measurement professionals have long argued that it an "unsanctioned" aspect of validity.  Before I write about how that is changing, I want to describe how consequential validity has traditionally been written about and why I have long disagreed.