Math Badging

A pilot program with three states to advance a more rigorous and student-centered approach to math.

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The Carnegie Foundation established the Carnegie Unit (or credit hour) in 1906. For more than a century, the Carnegie Unit has been the bedrock currency of the educational economy, undergirding almost every aspect of secondary and tertiary education. 

It’s time to initiate a significant shift—away from time-bound conceptions of what knowledge is and how it is acquired. We envision a new “educational architecture,” where engaging and effective learning can happen anywhere, and where that learning is well-validated, outcomes-based, and better-matched to the full range of knowledge, skills, and capacities students need to thrive in the 21st century. Together with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, we are working to reinvent the world’s system for recognizing and valuing student achievement, knowledge, and growth. 

And we are starting with math. For too long, high school math pathways and course-taking options have served as a barrier to student success. That’s why XQ has convened a network of experts in math pedagogy, assessment, policy, and instruction to build a new approach aimed at meeting the needs of individual students: the XQ Math Badging System. This system comprises 23 individual badges, each representing a set of core mathematical concepts and practices. Bigger than a standard but smaller than a course, math badges provide administrators, educators, and students with building blocks to create more flexible math pathways that better connect student learning to interests and career opportunities.

No longer will students be required to repeat an entire course if they need to do more work to master a single badge area, and learners will move through academic content toward mastery at their own pace. Our approach will integrate academic rigor with real-world learning and support adolescent developmental needs for motivation, engagement, and a sense of belonging in mathematics.

This work is currently underway through XQ Math’s Badging Initiative in three pilot states: Idaho, Illinois, and Kentucky.