Digital Badges

A Tool for Acknowledging Student Accomplishments

Digital badges act as credentials in specific areas of achievement, documenting students’ accomplishments in school and beyond.

Digital Badge Basics

Each digital badge has its own set of requirements that can range from passing an online exam to completion of sophisticated projects. Instead of working for two or three years to pass that huge end-of-program exam, students can work on smaller pieces of the larger credential—and be recognized at each step along the way.

Each time an individual meets the criteria for a given badge, they’ll claim it by giving MBA Research permission to post the badge on a private website, where each recipient will have their own password access. Once posted, each student can then access the website, copy the badge and its link, and post it to most digital media, including digital portfolios, resumes, LinkedIn, and any other social media sites.

Each badge is linked to its own web page. Potential employers, colleges, scholarship sponsors, or anyone with whom students choose to share their badges, can access a detailed badge description. Backed by challenging, research-based, MBA Research assessment criteria, the documentation for each badge provides readers with detailed information describing both the content that the badge represents and the specific requirements required to earn it (e.g., exams, projects, or documented experiences).

Digital badges are valid for 5 years from the date of assessment or fulfilment of criteria (for non-assessment based badges).

Cut score criteria

To learn more about the digital badging system and why it should be an important part of your business and marketing program, check out this short video from Tammy Cyrus, MBA Research Director of Professional Development.


All digital badges utilize an online exam created by MBA Research and based on the National Business Administration Curriculum Standards. All exams maintain a level of rigor appropriate for the type of badge being offered. Some badges are based on exams that are more comprehensive in nature and/or may represent a higher level of difficulty (e.g., High School of Business™, A*S*K Institute). Badges that are based on an individual standard or instructional area consist of 25 questions. End-of-course exams are 50 questions, while an end-of-program exam is 100 questions.


We offer 5 levels of badges. Each level represents a specific series that is differentiated by how comprehensive the qualifying exam is or by level of difficulty. Likewise, each badge level has a distinct graphic depiction. All badges have their own individual purpose or value and do not represent a good, better, or best achievement. Teachers can view the specific performance indicators that are being assessed.

Once a student claims a badge and puts it into their “backpack,” the performance indicators are accessible by the “viewer” of the badge. All questions addressed on the badge exam draw from the industry-validated MBA National Business Administration Curriculum Standards and utilize the planning levels from the MBA Research curriculum model. Visit links for more info.

Digital Badge - Level 1
Digital Badge - Level 2
Digital Badge - Level 3
A*S*K Digital Badge - Level 5
HSB Digital Badge - Level 5

Experiential Learning

We are planning a series of student badges that captures learning in a variety of professional and community-based settings. These experiences including community service activities, internships, project management, service learning, leadership, and work-based activities; all provide great opportunities to document learning in both formal and informal settings, as well as both inside and outside of the classroom. This adds tremendous value to a student’s portfolio in terms of demonstrating skills and knowledge demanded by employers, and adds to student readiness for college and careers.


Can you expect a return-on-investment when students take the extra steps needed to earn digital badges? Absolutely.

Badging is a rapidly growing initiative in schools nationwide. With its roots in gaming, badging has an immediate upside in terms of student motivation. With the opportunity to earn multiple badges each year, and with a variety of rigor levels, students can focus on those that are most appropriate to your business/marketing program and to their individual needs and abilities. Our preliminary research suggests that the value of a badge will be highly dependent upon its requirements and on the credibility of the organization behind it.

MBA Research-sponsored badges focus specifically on outcomes and achievement. (Some badge sponsors award badges based on participation.) MBA Research badges offer immediate return on investment when badge holders communicate their significance. To lend support, each badge is fully documented with detailed learning outcomes so that appropriate readers (employers, colleges, scholarship sponsors, etc.) will have a clear explanation that the badge represents significant effort and achievement on the part of its holder.


We are also planning a series of teacher badges. Digital badges will enable teachers to document professional experiences and activities that can work in conjunction with a professional development plan or possibly license renewal requirements.

In most cases, an activity will include an additional performance element. An easy example: We do not anticipate awarding educator badges for attending our Conclave conference. We do, however, intend to offer badges for specific achievements that result from the conference.

While still in development, educator badges are anticipated to include:

  • Assessment design
  • Association leadership
  • Authentic assessment
  • Business engagement
  • CTSO leadership
  • Curriculum design and decision-making
  • High School of Business™ implementation
  • Professional development activities
  • Project-based pedagogies
  • Professional presentations


Individual instructional area badge exams are offered from our online store for $3.75 (member) and $5.50 (non-member). Course-level badges are currently $5.50 (member) and $7.95 (non-member) from our online store. Eventually, badges that require a level of documentation beyond testing will require a fee to underwrite the associated costs. We anticipate a range of pricing for badges that include significant authentic assessment and/or projects. The pricing structure for A*S*K exams and end-of-program exams remain the same, with the added advantage that a digital badge is available for students who meet the criteria for passing those exams.

Visit Our Online Store

Visit our online store for instructional and course-level badge exams.