Assessment of general capabilities

The major activity of this project was to investigate ways of assessing the 21st-century skills of critical thinking, creative thinking and collaboration.

To address the growing demands in skill development, a three-year project was undertaken to conceptualise frameworks to assess and report students’ skills and respective levels of development. 

The focus of the project has been to develop an approach for teaching and assessing skills in the classroom. The skills selected for investigation were collaboration, critical thinking, and creative thinking. While there is wide recognition that students need to be better equipped with appropriate social and cognitive skills there is a lack of training to better equip educators to do this. This project engaged with educators to develop, trial, and validate resources at classroom level to ultimately equip them with the skills and resources they need to embed skills into their practice. 

At the centre of these resources are skill development frameworks that support understanding of the skills. The frameworks have been developed to address the challenges associated with teaching and assessing collaboration, creative thinking and critical thinking. While there are many definitions of these skills, few provide a means to operationalise them in the classroom. The frameworks outline processes along prescribed strands and aspects informed by a sound evidentiary basis. The aspects contained within the frameworks are designed to provide foci for teaching and the basis of assessment.

Collaboration - Definition and structure - Skill development framework

Creative thinking - Definition and structure - Skill development framework

Critical thinking - Definition and structure - Skill development framework

Two classroom-based modules for Year 5 and Year 8 students were developed as problem-solving contexts in order to make observations relevant to each of these skills. These were trialled in schools and the resulting data were analysed to explore the feasibility of collecting valid, reliable and generalisable information about these aspects of student learning and development. The final project report outlines the assessments and resulting analysis.
Assessing General Capabilities: Skills for the 21st-century learner. Final report .

Over the life of the project, a research community has been established, and workshops and masterclasses have been delivered to support professional development in that space. Register for professional learning: Assessing skills for 21st Century learners online course.

For more information:

Check out Teacher's podcast on this work: Assessing the general capabilities

Or join our General Capabilities Research Community