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Supporting assessment of teaching and learning of 21st century skills

A new program is helping education stakeholders in Asia to develop and use assessment tools to improve teaching and student learning of 21st century skills. ACER Research Fellow Sally Robertson reports.

Optimizing Assessment for All (OAA) is a Brookings Institution project designed to change the way educational assessment is perceived and used.

Currently operating in three focus countries – Cambodia, Nepal and Mongolia – the program aims to improve the assessment, teaching and learning of 21st century skills, in support of UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal 4. The Brookings Institution leads the OAA project and provides technical input, coordination and funding. The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is the technical partner on the project.

OAA takes a collaborative learning approach, bringing together different expertise from national teams, to enhance assessment knowledge and build capacity while focused on improving the kinds of skills students will need to thrive in the 21st century. The goal is to demonstrate ways of integrating assessment and teaching of 21st century skills into existing curriculum.

The development and implementation of assessment approaches in the focus countries will run until 2019 and targets problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills in maths, science and social sciences in Grades 5 and 6. The Brookings Institution and ACER are providing ongoing support to the national technical teams and to teachers and are facilitating a series of capacity-building workshops, the first of which developed a draft assessment framework for the OAA and took place in Kathmandu in May 2018. The assessment framework is informed by the curricula of the three focus countries. Further workshops will be hosted by the Mongolian and Cambodian technical teams and are designed to develop assessment tools which can be used by classroom teachers and to plan pilot programs to trial the assessment tools. The findings will be reported and shared with education stakeholders across the region.

The project is being coordinated through the Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific (NEQMAP). ■

Read more: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/overview_optimizing-assessment-for-all.pdf

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About the author

Sally Robertson is a Research Fellow in ACER's International Surveys research program.

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