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Pathways to Global Competence: A Badge System for Students


Summary Statement

Asia Society proposes the creation of a badge system containing five badges that progressively denote globally competent youth leadership. The badges will be awarded to high school students who demonstrate proficiency in a set of performance outcomes. 

Through a careful process of articulation and validation among education, workforce, and civic leaders worldwide Asia Society, in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), has defined global competence as the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance, which requires that students master four domains of knowledge and skills, described below.

Therefore, on the pathway to reaching the ultimate badge of Globally Competent Youth Leader, students must earn four smaller badges articulating identities aligned to these four domains: (1) Global Researcher, (2) Global Integrator, (3) Global Communicator, and (4) Global Contributor. All badges will be acquired through both in- and out-of-school learning experiences and measured via performance-based assessments.  Building on the work Asia Society is pursuing as a Gates Foundation Project Mastery grantee, these badges will also reflect and draw upon Asia Society’s decade of leadership in the field of global competence. 


The growing global interdependence that characterizes our times calls for a new approach to education that engages learners in more powerful, relevant, and self-directed way, enabling them to live, compete and collaborate in a new globalized world.  Put simply, we must nurture students’ global competence to prepare them to participate fully in today and tomorrow’s world demands.

Students demonstrate global competence through awareness and curiosity about how the world works—informed by rigorous disciplinary and interdisciplinary study. As defined by Asia Society in collaboration with CCSSO and as vetted through the process described below, globally competent students can:

  • Investigate the world beyond their immediate environment, framing significant opportunities and problems, conducting well-crafted and age-appropriate research, and analyzing, integrating and synthesizing credible evidence drawn from sources worldwide
  • Recognize perspectives, both their own and others’, articulating and explaining such perspectives and the influences of people, groups and schools of thought on their development
  • Communicate effectively, using appropriate language and behavior, as well as non-verbal and technology-supported strategies, to engage diverse audiences
  • Take action to improve conditions, viewing themselves as players in the world, they will act personally or collaboratively, in ethical and creative ways to contribute to improvement locally, regionally and/or globally

 (See Appendix 1 and for more detail)

This definition and the accompanying performance outcomes have been vetted extensively by experts in the field of education and by those who are thought to exhibit the characteristics of global competence.  We seek to ensure that what we are teaching is in fact what students will need to know, working with those who apply these outcomes in their lives now.  See Appendix 2 for a description of the vetting process.

Work Completed to Date

In order to help schools and educators develop global competence and college readiness in youths, Asia Society has developed a performance based assessment system, the Graduation Performance System (GPS).  This system is being piloted in 34 public schools across the US as part of Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network. The GPS is designed to support and assess students’ progress towards global competence and college readiness, as well as teachers’ capacity to teach for global competence.  With funding from the Gates Foundation and Hewlett Foundation, we are in the process of integrating the GPS within a digital platform called ShowEvidence. ShowEvidence is specifically designed to support the performance assessment process at every stage, including task design and development, production and uploading of student work, scoring, generation of feedback, calculation of inter-rater reliability, and aggregation of work in portfolios. 

For students, the GPS provides a process, in response to performance assessment tasks, to produce work that demonstrates their proficiency in relation to performance outcomes (See Appendix 3 for example of performance outcomes and rubrics).  The performance outcomes establish graduation level (i.e. 12th grade) criteria for the dimensions of global competence within six core subject areas (ELA, Math, Science, History, Arts and World Languages).  Across these subject areas, criteria are aligned to demonstrate the ability to produce college level work and, where available, Common Core State Standards.  The GPS also establishes the Global Leadership Performance Outcomes for interdisciplinary learning in global leadership, which align with the definition of global competence outlined above (see Appendix 3).   

Asia Society trains educators to both design engaging global tasks appropriate to the online system, as well as reliably assess student work, calibrated to the levels of the GPS rubrics and for inter-rater reliability.  The system is designed to allow tasks and student work produced both in and out of school, including digital environments, and enables proficient work to “count” within a student’s portfolio, regardless of when or where it is produced. 

With this new technology platform for GPS provided by ShowEvidence comes the potential to embed incentive structures and promote community participation, track and award progress on milestones towards larger goals, and rigorously and reliably recognize and validate the knowledge and skills that are achieved in a variety of settings, for a variety of purposes (academic credit, college admissions, employment applications, etc.).

Badge System

Using the GPS assessment process and working with ShowEvidence, we propose a badge system to recognize attainment of the Global Leadership Performance Outcomes. High school students will have the opportunity to earn badges of progressively greater stature as their work demonstrates proficiency at established milestones along the pathway toward these specific outcomes.  In this system, the highest value badge will be that which validates a student’s identity as a Globally Competent Youth Leader, having successfully demonstrated proficiency in all of the Global Leadership Performance Outcomes.  The process by which to do this will be partially determined during the funding period, but will include earning smaller badges along the pathway to Globally Competent Youth Leadership in the four domains/identities of:

  1. Global Researcher
  2. Global Integrator
  3. Global Communicator
  4. Global Contributor

Students will earn badges by demonstrating proficiency in a variety of learning experiences. In turn, proficiency will be gauged by at least two trained educators using four-point rubrics derived from the performance outcomes (see Appendix 3).  The number of student artifacts/work products required to attain a badge is to be determined, but will accumulate in a portfolio of work for each of the four domains/identities.  In order to ensure that all the content of the badges aligns to the skills and content student need to actually be globally competent, and to further bolster the considerable vetting and validation work Asia Society has already completed, we will collaborate with both Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and US Fund for UNICEF.  Their expertise as organizations that demonstrate global competence (see Appendix 4) will provide validation of the real-world application of the skills learned in the badging process. 

The portfolios will allow students to showcase their mastery through proficient work pulled from multiple disciplines and anywhere/anytime opportunities, enabling them to reflect on the development of their identities, share with a broader community both online and offline, and get feedback from other educators, peers, mentors, and family. 

For example, in service of becoming a global researcher, a student might watch videos and read blogs from protesters across the Middle East to better understand Arab Spring; study the history of protest, revolutions, and non-violent demonstrations; and compare with (or join) protests happening for Occupy Wall Street across the US and the world.   In the process of accessing these different resources to complete tasks and create their portfolio, students can invite comment from teachers and peers, as well as invite other community members to view the portfolio. A holistic assessment of growth and proficiency demonstrated in the portfolio will be the final step in order for a badge to be awarded.

We envision piloting these badges within the Asia Society schools; allowing validation of achievements on the pathway to global competence (which is not reached until 12th grade in schools currently), with plans to expand to recognize students outside the Asia Society network after launch.

Funds will be used specifically to:  1.  Finalize the 5-badge system and determine the badge networking, including mapping exactly how the 4 smaller badges add up to the larger badge and the number and type of tasks, artifacts, and portfolios to be completed; 2.  Design tasks specific to the global leadership performance outcomes and its four domains; 3.  Create addenda for existing trainings for teachers, educators, after school providers, etc. on what badges are, how they are useful, and how to further engage students in these activities; 4.  Determine options for an additional incentive system, especially for students outside of the Asia Society network (for whom determining proficiency in all performance outcomes is not already part of their requirements); 5. Allow ShowEvidence to display badges and link student work to badges within the existing system.




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