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This project was submitted by an applicant to the Digital Media and Learning Competition.

Pathways for Lifelong Learning


PASA’s mission is to expand and improve quality after school, summer, and other expanded learning opportunities for the youth of Providence by organizing a sustainable public/private system that contributes to student success and serves as a national model. To connect PASA’s AfterZone and Hub systems, PASA is developing badge-supported learning pathways which will reflect, motivate, assess and validate the learning interests of youth through middle school, high school, to graduation, and onward.

PASA and the Hub intend to use the content submitted by PASA in Stage One. Badges that reflect, validate, and enhance ongoing learning and behaviors in middle school programs—passion, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), etc.—will guide youth along learning pathways extending through high school and beyond. Additionally, PASA intends to create a system of badges that will reflect and validate the professional and youth development activities of program partners.

One system of badges will create a seamless system of 6th-12th grade after-school learning pathways, while the other will encourage high quality programs by validating professional development opportunities for program providers.  Each will reinforce and compliment the other. Badges that promote the highest quality programs will ensure that program providers are qualified to recommend and administer badges. Likewise, badges that encourage and validate learning along multi-year pathways will encourage providers to enhance their practice in order to facilitate badge-worthy pathways.

Youth-level badges will recognize a variety of discrete skills across themes such as interest exploration, career readiness, peer-to-peer tutoring/mentorship, STEM, etc. For example, an AfterZone participant would be eligible for the “Passion Badge” upon completion (80% attendance) of 3+ programs within an area of interest, which would then qualify them for inclusion in the Hub Internship applicant pool in 9th grade. Badges within the AfterZone will be based primarily on program attendance per program session. Attendance of at least 80% per program is required in order to qualify for any badge within the AfterZone. Once a participant has progressed along a pathway to the high school level, badge requirements increase. High school ELO badges-for high school credit as verified by the Providence Public School District- will be content/competency-based and consist of standards-level granularity. Each set of youth-level badges will convey qualifications such as correct age level, student interest and dedication, and prior badge accomplishment.

Program provider badges will recognize the successful completion of training courses and professional development opportunities. They will validate activities like Rhode Island Program Quality Assessment (RIPQA) observations, completion of the BEST Youth Worker Certificate Program, and more. Providers could qualify for certain badges when they are co-observed by a quality advisor PASA administrative staff member, incorporate any practice-based suggestions based on their quality assessment, and complete an action plan that they co-design with the quality advisor and staff member. Action plans can include professional development sessions or one-on-one technical assistance hours with the quality advisors.

PASA’s badges will validate cumulative accomplishments as follows:
  • Points recognize achievements along a certain pathway and move participants closer to Progress and Recognition-level badges.
  • Progress Badges are awarded when the participant has reached the number/type of points needed reach a significant benchmark along a pathway. They recognize indicators, skills, or competency-based achievements earned along the path toward a PASA Recognition Badge.
  • 3rd Party Verified Progress Badges recognize significant indicators, skills, or competency-based achievements along a path toward a PASA Recognition Badge and have been verified by a 3rd party. These badges would be most applicable to program providers who participate in trainings such as the RIPQA, or the BEST Youth Worker Certificate Program.
  • Recognition Badges are a pathway’s culmination, representing the accumulation of Points and Progress Badges without 3rd party verification and the successful completion of an achievement, skill, or competency.
  • 3rd Party Verified Recognition Badges represent the accumulation of Points and Progress Badges with 3rd party verification and the successful completion of an achievement, skill, or competency.

Many Progress and Recognition badges will result in new opportunities and privileges. For example, a participant earns the “Hub Intern Badge” upon completion (90% attendance) of all intern training expectations, followed by a successful program provider review. The “Hub Intern Badge” qualifies recipients for an invitation or scholarship to attend the Youth Development Certificate Program at Rhode Island College, as well as preference on available paid summer internship opportunities through the Hub’s Youth Center Employment partnership. As the badge ecosystem matures and more partner agreements are formed, more privileges will be developed and introduced.

Criteria for youth-level badges will consist of a combination of attendance requirements and completion of program-specific accomplishments and/or provider and peer feedback. To achieve high school ELO badges, students will need to score “proficient” or “exemplary” on each rubric (research, reflection, product, presentation, and additional rubrics related to the specific PBGRs/Common Core Standards). Provider badges will be granted upon completion of quality benchmarks, such as RIPQA trainings.

All youth and ELO badges would be permanent, but “Endorsed Provider” recognition badges would expire if the quality of the program decreases—if a program provider’s attendance levels or RIPQA score decrease. Providers would be able to attain the badge again after completing necessary professional development and quality improvement steps.

For youth badges, will have a built-in system that will allow PASA staff to issue points, progress, and recognition badges on a case-by-case basis and in-line with assessment.  For students in 8th-12th grades, progress and recognition badges will be pushed to the Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI), allowing students to manage and access their badges using the backpack.  Points will not be pushed to the OBI, but will instead be maintained locally on All points and badges will be displayed on the students’ profiles at

For 6th and 7th grade participants, badges won’t be accessible on until they enroll in 8th grade. Instead, PASA will internally track badges and students will receive physical representations of their badges at end-of-year recognition parties. We are in discussions with a youth arts organization to produce screen prints of Youth-level badges.

For program providers, all points, progress badges, and recognition badges will be issued and managed internally by PASA on, a system similar to Third-party verified progress and recognition badges will be pushed to the OBI so that program providers can manage and access them via the backpack. PASA will display badges with provider profiles on and on for high school providers.

PASA’s badges could possibly serve as qualifications for other badge systems. For example, if a student earned a video game creation badge, the student is able to apply for attendance in a more advanced video game creation course/system offered outside of the PASA system.

Each progress and recognition badge issued will have its own url containing its emblem and a short badge description, criteria, issuer, program provider or youth name, provider email address, and issuer contact. Privacy concerns around displaying youth email addresses need to be considered before making a decision about displaying youth email addresses.
PASA is in a beta-collaboration with Digication portfolio systems where youth participating in ELOs can document their learning experiences. PASA may consider adding a link to their portfolios on the badge url as their Badge Evidence URL.

Software and Widgets
PASA proposes a system that will provide a dynamic downloadable document containing each user’s badges with the details of “real world” implications of each badge with regard to employment or higher education opportunities. This document could possibly contain recommendation letters associated with the students or program providers. The system would pull badges managed by the backpack as well as points and recommendation data stored on or The user could select whatever information that will be needed in the document, generating an uneditable pdf.

This system would take advantage of the badge ecosystem, would be written in an open source manner, and accessible to any interested badge issuer.

We have technical expertise amongst our team and local community this opportunity may be able to leverage, however we are open to new technology collaborators.

Damian Ewens, Hub Director taught math/science 6th-12th grades, has an MA in Education from Stanford, and worked as a communications strategist for Big Picture Learning—a global school system that bridges real world, interest-based internships with in-school rigor.

Kerri Lemoie, Web Maker is a web applications developer with 12+ years of experience integrating and developing APIs on sites like and and mentors students as part of the web development ELO.

Vinny Bucchino is a local graphic designer with experience in badge content and systems.

Embolden--an award-winning digital communications and online strategies group--will assist with design, architecture, wire framing, and quality assurance services, working with PASA to design and create 15 badges, wire frame key screens in the badge issuing system, and test the system in the most popular web browsers.  

PASA will begin using the Video Game Design Badge solution from E-Line Media and may extend their badges into a more robust Game Design Pathway.



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