Giving students school credit for the learning they do outside the classroom opens new opportunities and paths for young people

Successful credit-for-learning programs incorporate student voice and choice, often through strong community-school partnerships, areas in which afterschool and summer learning programs excel. From earning STEM credits in a boat-building class to learning the art of filmmaking from a local industry professional, youth are able to dive deeply into their interests and explore potential career paths, while earning credit towards graduation.

Want more? Check out this quick, half-minute video with highlights from credit-for-learning programs.

Kids have dreams for their futures. Credit-for-learning afterschool programs help them achieve goals while earning credit for graduation. In this video, students and staff from two afterschool programs in Providence, Rhode Island, share how credit-for-learning is helping young people reach their full potential.

Issue Brief: Credit-for-Learning: Make Learning Outside of School Count (November 2021)

Creating new and engaging learning opportunities for middle and high school students can help them find their inspiration, gain skills that will benefit them in and outside of the classroom, and play an active role in designing their own learning journey to reach their full potential. This issue brief, complemented by in-depth afterschool program profiles, explores the ways in which afterschool programs can provide older youth with opportunities to explore their interests and participate in activities that also allow them to earn credits toward their graduation requirements. 

Read the report
Friends Forever International

Empowering youth to build a better world

New Hamsphire Academy of Sciences

Fostering relationships to create a strong sense of belonging

Laconia School District Extended Learning Opportunities

Integrating youth voice and student-created curriculum to boost engagement

L.E.A.D. Afterschool

Fostering relationships to create a strong sense of belonging


Fostering relationships to create a strong sense of belonging

Sail Academy

Leveraging school partnerships to best serve students

Guides, talking points, and rubrics for credit-for-learning programs

Then try...
  • Elements of Work-Based Learning Program Design: A worksheet that gives a deeper look at the work-based learning framework and includes a rubric for providers to use when designing their own program. This framework was created “using experiences and expertise of students, in-school and out-of-school work-based learning program educators, and intermediary organizations.”

  • Work-Based Learning Framework: Matrix to help design programs build self awareness, self and social advocacy, relationship skills, and decision-making skills.
  • Talking points: These talking points will give you an overview of credit-for-learning, help you raise awareness about credit-for-learning programs within your local community, and allow you to engage in discussions with potential funders for this initiative.

  • Building a state campaign: A state campaign for credit-for-learning opportunities can help educate state policymakers and other key individuals about the benefits of these programs, resulting in laws or regulations that allow their implementation. This resource will walk you through elements of creating a successful state campaign.
  • Teacher of Record Student Check-in Tool: A worksheet including guiding questions for a teacher responsible for granting credit to ask students throughout their credit-for-learning experience.

  • Career Exploration Outline: A curriculum for teachers of record to connect out-of-school learning to academic work happening during the school day.

  • sample email template that Youthforce NOLA uses to send to schools after a student completes a credit-for-learning program. Youthforce NOLA is no longer offering credit-for-learning opportunities.

Do you have a credit-for-learning program? We'd love to learn more about it! Reach out to