earlier eras and require corresponding changes in educational experiences. One theme from that workshop was that across the entire labor market—from high-wage biotechnology scientists and computer sales engineers to low-wage restaurant servers and elder caregivers—five skills appear to be increasingly valuable: adaptability, complex communication skills, nonroutine problem-solving skills, self-management/self-development; and systems thinking (National Research Council, 2008).
The second workshop, held in 2009, was designed to explore demand for these types of skills, consider intersections between science education reform goals and 21st century skills, examine models of high-quality science instruction that may develop the skills, and consider science teacher readiness for 21st century skills. A message that emerged from this workshop was that although some new assessments incorporate items that appear promising as potential measures of students’ 21st century skills, additional research may be needed in order to more clearly define the constructs and to develop frameworks for assessment of these skills (National Research Council, 2010).
The present workshop was intended to delve more deeply into the topic of assessment. The goal for this workshop was to capitalize on the prior efforts and explore strategies for assessing the five skills identified earlier. The Committee on the Assessment of 21st Century Skills was asked to organize a workshop that reviewed the assessments and related research for each of the five skills identified at the previous workshops, with special attention to recent developments in technology-enabled assessment of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
In designing the workshop, the committee collapsed the five skills into three broad clusters as shown below:
Cognitive skills: nonroutine problem solving, critical thinking, systems thinking
Interpersonal skills: complex communication, social skills, teamwork, cultural sensitivity, dealing with diversity
Intrapersonal skills: self-management, time management, self-development, self-regulation, adaptability, executive functioning
The committee commissioned a set of papers to examine the research on assessing skills within each of these broad clusters and identified examples of assessments of the skills to feature at the workshop. The workshop was held in two parts. The first, convened in Irvine, California, in January 2011, was more technical in focus. The second, held in Washington, DC, in May 2011, was more policy focused. This report provides an integrated summary of the presentations and discussions from both parts of the workshop.