UPDATE 3/28/16: Added a .pdf of the latest presentation/information ("Proficiency Scales and (Re) Thinking Diplomas"), a copy of the Marzano taxonomy that we (@AOS94ME) uses to determine and plan for complexity, and an updated image of the diploma/certification "levels."
I am in the process of completing a major steps forward with implementing this idea in my local school district: integration of this idea into our local system of data management (PowerSchool and Google Docs) using the microcredential framework. I am hoping to have this initially completed by the end of the week.
For longer than most of us can remember, the diploma has served as a representation of achievement. A powerful moment in a persons life admit symbolizes a major achievement. A diploma is a big deal; no question about it. But what happens when the diploma becomes marginalized? When you can't determine from the diploma what the student actually knows and can do? The transcript becomes the important document; the diploma then becomes more "ceremonial" and "cultural." It loses its ability to communicate the extent to which a student has learned. It becomes a catch all for the exceptional as well as those who are moved along.
What if we could change that?
What if we could align the diploma to the transcript, and simply, accurately, and authentically communicate learning while also certifying and credentialing?
To prepare students beyond HS and into college and career, we need to support them in our documentation as well as our pedagogy. Creating a leveled diploma system that is based off of the three core components of proficiency/mastery (content, complexity, and autonomy) can accomplish this goal.
Also, here's a new (3/23/16) blog post I wrote regarding Badges and proficiency-based learning: http://mattdrewettecard.weebly.com/blog/thin-mints-badges-proficiency-based-learning