measures of maximum performance are usually the focus in the cognitive domain, typical performance may be the primary focus of measures for some intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. For example, measures of dispositions and attitudes related to conscientiousness, multicultural sensitivity, and persistence could be designed to assess what students are likely to do (typical performance). In comparison to measures of maximum performance, measures of typical performance require more complex designs and tend to be less stable and reliable (Patry, 2011).

Both the variety of definitions of constructs across the three domains and the lack of high-quality measures pose challenges for teaching, assessment, and learning of 21st century competencies. They also pose challenges to research on interventions designed to impact student learning and performance, as we discuss below.


Despite the challenges posed by a lack of uniform definitions and high-quality measures of the intended performance outcomes, there is emerging evidence that cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal competencies can be developed in ways that promote transfer. The most extensive and strongest evidence comes from studies of interventions targeting cognitive competencies, but there is also evidence of development of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. The research includes studies encompassing how people learn in formal, informal, and workplace learning environments, as discussed further below.

Evidence from Interventions in Formal Learning Environments

As illustrated by the examples in the previous chapter, some classroom-based interventions targeting specific cognitive competencies have also, through changes in teaching practices, fostered development of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. The students learn through discourse, reflection, and shared experience in a learning community. For example, Boaler and Staples (2008) note the following:

The discussions at Railside were often abstract mathematical discussions and the students did not learn mathematics through special materials that were sensitive to issues of gender, culture, or class. But through their mathematical work, the Railside students learned to appreciate the different ways that students saw mathematics problems and learned to value the contribution of different methods, perspectives, representations, partial ideas and even incorrect ideas as they worked to solve problems. (p. 640)

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