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Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and 21st Century Skills: A Workshop Summary
The speaker and other workshop participants offered the following responses:
Some states have already adopted educational standards incorporating 21st century skills and are beginning to develop assessments aligned with these new standards.
Educational assessments are standardized for all students, in contrast to the process in the corporate world, which involves tailoring each assessment to a particular workplace or job.
Corporate assessment must be tailored in order to be most relevant for the job and to be the most valid predictor of future job performance.
In education, if the purpose is large-scale assessment, the same standardized test should be administered to all students. However, if a teacher wants to know how well her students have learned following a unit of instruction focused on 21st century skills, it may be appropriate to create a unique assessment.
Although educational assessments measure individual skills, the value of a skill such as adaptability may be realized in groups, rather than as an attribute of separate individuals. From this perspective, it is important to think about assessment of people in groups.
Online assessments can be manipulated to engage students in solving a problem with others who are not physically present. This approach could be used to assess a dimension of self-management—the ability to work as a member of a virtual team (Houston, 2007). Assessments can also be manipulated to change the status of the test-taker in order to assess adaptability. For example, a student may initially be asked to solve the problem individually, and then be told to collaborate with other students. This change of status could be used to assess adaptability, collaboration, and complex communication skills.
In corporate assessment, the goal is for each individual to possess adaptability and other 21st century skills, as well as for groups to have these skills. Job performance tests of adaptability are sometimes used to identify those individuals who may be best able to cope with, and adapt to, physically dangerous situations.