Assessing 21st century skills

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to this blog via e-mail or my RSS feed. I also am on Twitter. Thanks for visiting!

If we’re going to teach Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

literacy skills in schools, we need ways of determining whether or not those

skills have been learned by students. The Partnership for 21st Century

Skills notes that answering the question ‘How do we measure 21st

century learning?’ will be critical as we try to prepare students

who can be productive citizens in the new technology-suffused,

globally-interconnected economy.

Over in the United Kingdom, the British government’s Key Stage 3 ICT Literacy

Assessment for 12- and 13-year-old aims to assess higher-order thinking

skills in conjunction with ICT use. For example, as part of a task to draft and

publish a journalistic article, students must use search engines to collect and

analyze employment data, e-mail sources for permission to publish their

information, and present data in graphic and written formats using word

processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software, all within a simulated

computing environment. Student actions are tracked by the computer and assessed

for both technical and learning skills such as finding things out,

developing ideas, and exchanging and sharing information. If

you’re interested, you can download a

demonstration file and see for yourself.

Other interesting projects in the U.K. include Northern Ireland’s Council for

the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment A-Level Examination in the Moving

Image (students must create

and assess digital film clips), the Ultralab International Certificate in

Digital Creativity (students must defend their digitally-produced film,

artwork, and music to a panel of peers and professionals), and the eViva e-portfolio initiative (online

space where students can receive feedback on their research and communication,

data analysis, and presentation skills). If anyone in the U.K. is reading this

post and has experience with any of these assessments, I’d love to hear your

perspectives in the comments section.

Over here in the United States, ETS also is

attempting to create new assessments of 21st century learning skills. I had a

chance last fall to get a personal demonstration of the ETS ICT Literacy Assessment. Like the Key

Stage 3, ETS’ assessment is a scenario-based test. This is a completely new

paradigm for ETS, which the ETS representative said is challenging but also

exciting for its psychometricians to try and wrap their heads around. I

encourage you to visit the

demo site and see how the test works. It may not be ideal, but I think it’s

a lot further from your typical standardized test than one might expect. It’s an

interesting attempt to blend both the technology and information literacy skills

needed by future generations and at least offers some food for thought. Also

check out the News

Page 1 of 2 | Next page