I have a dream
While my dream is nowhere near as ambitious nor eloquent as the one expressed by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963, it’s a dream that I too hope can become reality in the years to come. Let’s create a phone app that allows students, their peers, families and community members to rate student performance on any competence represented on a district’s Graduate Profile.
To understand how this would work, let’s return to my son Eli. Similar to a Graduate Profile, his school has a set of “Whole Child Reflections” that include empathy, independence/responsibility, acceptance of self/others, problem solving, positive risk taking, integrity, organization, contribution, curiosity and initiative, and critical thinking. On report cards each quarter, his teacher rates him on a scale (AC = area of concern, S = sometimes, O = often, C = consistently). But, those ratings are merely teacher observations during class time. They do not include self-reflection, peer assessments, or ratings offered by other adults who interact with Eli both in and out of school.
Last month, Eli shared that he wanted to earn money to buy soccer training equipment to bring to the park each afternoon. He learned during the recent spring break that he can make money washing cars. So, Eli created a flyer promoting “Eli’s Car Wash,” printed it, and placed it on a few dozen door steps in the neighborhood (see Eli’s fun flyer here). Over the past few weeks he’s already earned over $500! Wouldn’t it have been ideal if he had the opportunity to ask the neighbors to rate him on independence/responsibility, initiative, and perhaps problem-solving. The neighbors could download the app, offer a rating, make a comment, and even attach an artifact.
Then, when Eli has received five or more ratings for, say independence/responsibility, he could use the app to submit the ratings for review and approval. His teacher could review the ratings and associated comments and evidence, and determine whether he had met a standard. If met, Eli would be awarded a digital badge representing his demonstration of competence. That badge would become a portable credential that he could then use in multiple ways, i.e., when applying for his first job or applying for college.