This post has been sponsored by NOCTI.

What is excellence? If a group of people were gathered in a room and asked to define excellence, it would result in many different responses. Although the exact words used to define this term may vary, there is likely one common theme and it focuses on doing one’s best — at excelling within a particular area. Recognizing excellence is important in all areas of life — community, family, business, and education. Recognition can serve as a helpful way to reinforce the behaviors that drive excellence.

For the past four years, NOCTI has been recognizing high-achieving students with a digital College Credit SkillBadge™. How can the bar be raised even further for learners and how can they be motivated toward building the foundation for higher achievement and success?

In 2014, NOCTI, a leading provider of technical skill credentials, began the foundational work of creating digital recognition for high-achieving students — the Technical Badge of Excellence™. It is a well known fact that the supply of and demand for skilled workers is imbalanced — something that is often referred to as the “skills gap.” Career and Technical Education (CTE) is at a pivotal point in addressing this skills gap by providing high quality programs of study offered throughout the nation. Learners completing these programs are equipped with skills and knowledge to further their education and/or enter the workforce.

While the establishment of the Technical Badge of Excellence is based on solid research, there are some fundamental questions that were also answered by this research:

  • What if knowledge and skills were easy to verify and part of an electronic portfolio?
  • What if reaching “excellence” gave individuals more visibility in the job market?
  • What if there was a way to recognize technical excellence that was supported by major industry?

Answering these questions is as important as to the solid base of research on which the Technical Badge of Excellence is based. This research included a process of analyzing standard setting methods and longitudinal technical test data to determine excellence criteria. Criteria for the Technical Badge of Excellence is similar to that of many honor societies and will include confirmation of overall technical grade point averages that will be verified by local education officials in addition to meeting qualifying scores on a national technical credential. The combination of these two levels will reliably identify the nation’s top technical learners.

Employers and educators want an easy, accessible way to verify skills and one way to do this is through digital badges. Badges have created a common language between employers, learners, job seekers, and educators. They capitalize on technology and offer a means to “display” and validate individual achievements as well as verify technical competence through projects, programs, courses, assessments, and other activities. And, more importantly, digital badges can be accessed anytime and anywhere.

One of the final pieces to the Technical Badge of Excellence is the involvement of industry. As mentioned earlier, many industries are faced with a skills gap and are looking for ways to fill positions with individuals who have the skills and knowledge to hit the ground running. NOCTI is working with several corporations in recognizing the Technical Badge of Excellence. These organizations understand the research involved in establishing this credential and will have the opportunity to reach out to students earning the Technical Badge of Excellence with custom value-added benefits.

Today’s workplace needs a higher level of skill and education than it did in the past century. To regain our nation’s position as a global leader, and to give our students increased confidence and a competitive edge, we need to strive to do our best and achieve excellence beyond the levels set by many standards. The NOCTI Technical Badge of Excellence will provide this opportunity for both students and employers! Stay tuned for more details and an official launch coming soon!

 

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