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Aurora Institute


ExcEL Leadership Academy Micro-credential Pathway Adoption in Rhode Island

Author(s): Jennifer Cohen Kabaker, Laurie Gagnon

Issue(s): Aurora Institute, State Policy, Support Professional Learning

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Despite calls to modernize education preparation, the way we train, support, and grow educators has remained largely unchanged for decades. But some educator training and professional development organizations are taking a different approach by offering educators flexible and job-embedded learning opportunities that recognize and validate learning through demonstrations of competence.

Educators earn “micro-credentials” in the form of digital badges, which capture both the skill the educator demonstrated and the evidence they used to prove their mastery of that skill.

This case study offers a look at one micro-credential program, developed by UCLA’s ExcEL Leadership Academy that has been approved for ESOL teacher certification in Rhode Island. The program offers a progression of 12 micro-credentials focused on the skills and competencies educators need to serve multilingual learners (MLLs) effectively. Additionally, the case study offers recommendations for other states that hope to offer their educators high-quality competency-based pathways to certification and/or professional growth.