John Norton (TLN), Cathy Gassenheimer (ABPC) and I were discussing 21st Century assessment the other day. I shared with them the assessments that Ken Kay highlighted during his presentation at Edustat. I'll copy the post below. John Norton says we should be asking ourselves..."What skills and qualities of mind do we want our graduates to have?" Related question: "How do we assess whether students are acquiring these skills and qualities of mind?"
Reading the recent essay on 21st Century assessment published as an EdWeek op-ed a few weeks ago... which essentially makes the case that we are assessing kids for the wrong skills. The essay is written by a team of folks involved with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
The new assessments will have to do the following:
** Be largely performance-based. We need to
know how students apply
** Make students' thinking visible. The assessments should
** Generate data that can be acted upon. Teachers need to be
** Build capacity in both teachers and students.
** Be part
of a comprehensive and well-aligned continuum. Assessment
Now ask yourself... what would an
assessment that captures all of this look like? How could it be
standardized? How could it satisfy the current corporate/biz obsession with
"metrics"? What is the role
Here is the post I made over at EduStat--
“There isn’t a school, district, or state that doesn’t start with teacher quality, but part of being a quality teacher is knowing how to teach and assess with 21st Century skills.”
Ken Kay, president of the Partnership of 21st Century Skills, hit the stage running. His ability to tell a story made his presentation come alive for me. It was the first time I had heard him speak, although I am very familiar with his work, so familiar in fact, that I have developed a curriculum around it for teachers in Alabama through a Microsoft Partners in Learning grant.
Ken told us that the amount of information is doubling every 24 months and that by 2020 the amount of information will double in every 72 days. What this means is content memorization will simply not work anymore. It is currently impossible; especially at the rate knowledge is changing, to master it all. And even if you did, the content that you learn in your freshman year of college would be outdated by the time you graduate. Literacy in the 21st Century is not based on do you know it- rather, can you find it, analyze it, adapt it, and synthesize it? John Tao says as we move out of the information age into this new era of creativity an individual’s value will not be based on what he knows, but what he can create.
What Do We Need to Teach?
The goal of School 2.0 is not to do away with content, but to make sure the outcomes in that content are immersed in 21st Century skills. Ken urges us all to align our educational support systems to create 21st century outcomes in each key support area. And to start the conversation and consensus building on what the skills and outcomes are that we are going to emphasize in our schools, the ones that matter in the 21st Century. Then upgrade our professional development opportunities to enable our teachers to be able to focus on the teaching and assessment aspect of 21st Century teaching.
The litmus test is this- do our kids know how to deal with info they have never seen before? Would they know how to think critically and problem solve when given a scenario that is unfamiliar to them?
An example he gave of a metric that is measuring 21st Century skills is with the Council for the Aid to Education. They are doing important work in creating assessments that measure 21st Century type skills.
The work of the Partnership of 21st Century skills is important if schools want to remain relevant in the lives of the students they teach. We have done a wonderful job of preparing students for the 20th century, for the world of yesterday and today. However, the kids in our classrooms now will not be prepared for the world of work tomorrow if we do not make principled changes in the way we teach and learn.