CS-STEM Network Badges

The CS-STEM Network uses a badge-based system to define educational pathways that lead to certifications. Badges are meant to motivate and Badges are earned by completing activities, passing quizzes, and receiving endorsements.

What are Badges?

How do they lead to Certifications?

According to the Mozilla Foundation, a badge is a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be earned in any learning environment. An optimal badge system provides motivation, is an accurate indicator or performance, and its value is easily understood by all stakeholders.

Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy has been studying and designing badges and mapped badged pathways that lead to certifications since 2010. Directly below you will find a pictorial representation of the current Introduction to Programming Certification that is part of CS2N. In this example, students need to earn all four badges and receive an endorsement from a certified instructor before they are able to take the Introduction to Programming Certification Exam.

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Earning a Badge

Howtoearnabadge

Pictured directly above is the Robot Math Badge.

On the left hand side of the picture you will find the Badge on top and then three skills that students need to demonstrate to earn the Robot Math Badge. Students demonstrate their understanding by playing two games that require them to program their robots using mathematics to solve simple movement challenges.

On the right are types of requirements that can be attached to the badge:

  • Activities: Earn achievements by completing activities.

  • Artifacts: An uploaded file of how they solved their math problems. Each student writes their own version.

  • Quizzes: The quiz that was taken for Robot Math and their result.

  • Endorsements: Having an instructor 'endorsing' and signing off on the work of their student.

The badge is then awarded in Carnegie Mellon’s name by the instructor that was leading the class.

Evidence (Artifacts)

A Badge can only be taken seriously if it can back up its claims with evidence. CS2N’s badging system enables students to attach evidence to their badges. The evidence comes in the following forms:

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  • Example questions from the quiz that students took to earn the badge, pseudocode that demonstrates the student was able to break the problem down into machine readable logic

  • A copy of a fully commented program that demonstrates the student’s programming proficiency

  • A video, picture, or URL that supports the students work

  • A recommendation from their instructor

Digital Profile & Sharing

Scanning the QR Code takes you to the certificate earners' Digital Profile. This profile stores computational artifacts that the badge earner considers notable (i.e. portfolios, programs, pictures, web-links & recommendation letters)

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  • Badgesharing

Badges are designed to be shared using social media

Research

You can visit our Research Section for a selection of background and ongoing Badge-specific research.