Digital badges are not “official” in that the digital badges are NOT the same as diplomas nor certificates.
In short, issuing certificates required governmental approval from the state where the program resides, such as Pennsylvania or Colorado.
For example, it is The Colorado Department of Higher Education that has been granted the authority in a system with its board for granting any official certificate awards including the program approvals. Most secondary and post-secondary programs have an approval process which asks what industry certifications can be conferred in the program.
Digital badges are not included as industry certifications.
Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Colorado Department of Education collects data on industry certifications, but not on badges awarded. This is because the badging framework and governance of digital badges has been established to document employment skill sets, and not for educational transfer credit as is documented with courses, certificates and degrees. Rather, digital badges have a workforce relevance enhancement to traditional, educational offerings and are more of a motivational tool to help establish a pathway to the more formal certifications and educational transcripts and eventual diplomas.
At present, there are no policies with any educational system that allows for the evaluation of digital badges for college credit nor for high-school credit. Requests for evaluation of prior learning for college credit and school-based credit is possible as a future discussion point. Perhaps in the future, some educational system, especially in a rapidly changing enviroment, would desire this capacity so that student profiles of digital badges from multiple sources could be documented and verified to represent merit within the system.
The process for reviewing and approving new digital badges is taken seriously. This work is done by the SwimISCA.org Digital Badge Taskforce. To apply as a member on the panel, leave a message in the comments below.
An idea for a new badge can be proposed by members of the SwimISCA.org Digital Badge Taskforce.
The process for bestowing digital badges within the SwimISCA.org framework happens to those who apply and pass a training course.