Date of Award

Winter 1-14-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

David Kluth, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Kallen Dace, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Gerald Kiel, Ph.D.


Educators are consistently seeking appropriate measures of assessment and guidance tools in the 21st century. Tools in classrooms today are lacking the needs relevant to digital natives. Digital badges are a form of assessment, achievement, and accomplishment that show competencies and growth. This phenomenological research study was conducted to examine the experiences of seven teachers and three principals in a suburban school in a Northeastern state regarding the implementation of the digital badge in early literacy. The analysis of the data showed digital badges as intrinsically engaging, preferred over report cards, with a strong impact on instruction and relationships, validating, visual, and creating equitable and opportunity-based learning. Digital badges in their infancy may create challenges in continuation toward carry through to future grades and immature software hardships. The study was guided by a constructivist framework. Using a phenomenological approach, participants completed semistructured interviews, and provided artifacts. Findings revealed the digital badge creates strong partnerships among families, students, teachers and administration. The digital badge serves to engage students and increase academic achievement based on nationally normed tests. Teachers’ perceptions of digital badging were favorable; the digital badging process serves student and learner-centered preferences.