Key Coverage

R.I. Students Gaining ‘Badges,’ Credits Outside School

Many schools encourage students to get real-world experience outside school walls. But very few offer course credit and digital “badges”—virtual records of skills and achievements—for those experiences.

Now, the Providence, R.I., school district is in the middle of an initiative that appears to be breaking new ground in giving academic credit and recognizing skills and achievements out of school.

A collaborative project between a nonprofit organization, theProvidence After School Alliance, or PASA, and the 23,500-student Providence district is allowing students to engage in for-credit, badge-earning learning experiences outside school. Examples range from developing and pitching business plans to local venture capital firms to learning how to make Android phone applications at Brown University.