By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – College students pick easy courses to inflate their grades…so begins a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education,.

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That’s the viewpoint driving the movement to education badges, offered mostly on online start-ups. They look like brightly colored Boy Scout badges for rewarding achievements and may “say” more to employers than a single grade.

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With 84% of employers reporting that job applicants were underprepared for today’s workforce, students are enthusiastic about building their own degrees through modules with credit for completion.

Bill Wilson is trying badges this year for an online course he’s teaching at Purdue, in addition to grades, which Purdue requires. He believes badges communicate what happens in the classroom in a more employer-friendly fashion.

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Author Jeff Young, clearly a pro-badges person, suggests, “If a student can sew enough patches on his or her online resume from a variety of institutions, why stay at one place for four years just to get a certificate for framing?’’