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Education and the Future of Work – 21st century skills in curricula

“Holistic development” is the watchword when setting educational goals for students. However, what this means in practice differs from country to country and culture to culture. The underlying sentiments, though, are similar: We all want to ensure that our young citizens are equipped to think critically and creatively, and to solve problems in an increasing globalized world—a world in which learning is a lifelong endeavor. The challenge before us is with how nations act on these sentiments and design systems to be responsive to societal needs, all while maintaining traditional educational goals.

21CS MAP, a new study from the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), is designed to address this issue. By taking a comparative curriculum-mapping approach, the study will analyze how curricula give students the opportunity to master 21st century skill (21CS) learning goals.

21CS MAP will look at what competencies are valued within mainstream education systems, how they are integrated, and the expectations for how students will learn, think, and perform. The study will first identify common 21CS across participating countries, and then analyze how these skills are represented across selected subjects at Grades 4 and 8 levels in national curricula. Consistent with IEA’s approach, participating countries will contribute to the study’s framework and survey to ensure relevance and accurate representation.

BACKGROUND

Previously, Brookings completed research that captured web-sourced information about national education systems’ aspirations associated with 21CS. This research provided convincing evidence of a global shift toward these skills, but the impact on curriculum change was not clear.

Global understanding of most traditional school subjects, such as mathematics or science, is relatively well established, with curriculum studies showing strong similarities in type and sequence of learning for such subjects. That knowledge, in turn, informs continuing curriculum reform worldwide.

As systems incorporate 21CS learning goals, we need similar levels of detail about the components of these competencies, how they are expressed in guidelines to teachers and students, and how they are represented either within standalone subjects or across disciplines. The Journal of Curriculum Studies published a significant review of 21st century competencies frameworks being considered for curricula. The challenges posed in that review, such as the need for common definitions for skills and connections between core subjects and these skills, remain unresolved today. 21CS MAP will provide the first multiple country dataset to inform these issues.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Representing 21st century skills in curricula: A new study

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