Promising Policy: Micro-credentials

What is micro-credentialing?

Micro-credentials are a potentially game-changing strategy for states to help experienced, hard-working and highly skilled teachers continuously improve their practice to meet the ever-increasing needs of their students in a global, 21st-century economy. Micro-credentials are a competency-based, personalized validation that a teacher has mastered a specific classroom practice and can use it effectively in his or her classroom (Excel in Ed). It’s part of a broader move toward personalized, competency-based learning – a concept increasingly found in the K-12 space applied to adult learners.

Micro-credentialing addresses the shortcomings of traditional professional development by enabling educators to demonstrate what they know, based on skills and practices that lead to increased student achievement.

States use micro-credentials to:

  • Target the skills teachers most need
  • Achieve a higher return on investment in professional learning
  • Make teacher relicensure more meaningful
  • Address teacher shortages
  • Create skills-based pathways for career advancement, where strong teachers can remain in the classroom

Micro-credentialing Facts & Figures


3 in 4 teachers in US already engage in some form of information professional development or learning. This allows teachers to be recognized for the skills they have, regardless of when or how they developed them.


21 states have adopted all of Digital Promise’s micro-credentials enabling teachers to achieve re-certification through continued learning and skills mastery.

Examples of States Participating in Micro-credentialing


The mission of Dysart Unified Public Schools’ (DUPS) professional development is to support and enhance the individual development of all Dysart stakeholders. The district set out to provide educators with more personalized learning experiences allowing them to explore passions while providing opportunities to move up the salary schedule. Click title for additional information.


Over 1,000 micro-credentials have been awarded to Arkansas educators. This transformation in professional learning not only aligns with the state’s vision but also with research that supports job-embedded professional development. This initiative will save valuable instruction time as well as professional development funds. Click title for additional information.


The state’s “guide” for teacher relicensing addresses the importance of professional development plans. The state priorities also include several areas in which micro-credentials could become a mechanism for collecting and assessing evidence of educator growth on specific competencies. Click title for additional information from Florida DOE.


Tennessee developed a micro-credentials pilot program to address three skills in its teacher evaluation rubric – questioning, thinking, and problem-solving – that were most commonly identified as areas where teachers needed growth. Click title for additional information.


Harmony Public Schools is the second-largest charter network in the United States and has been exploring ways to provide educators with performance-based compensation and career advancement opportunities to improve teacher effectiveness, retention, and satisfaction through micro-credentialing. Click title for additional information.