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Innovating Assessments to Measure and Support Complex Skills

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Policy makers around the world recognise the importance of developing young people’s 21st century skills like problem solving, creative thinking, self-regulation and collaboration. Many countries also include these skills as part of the intended learning outcomes of their education systems. To shift intention into practice, educational assessments need to better measure what matters. Innovative assessments are needed that combine conceptual, technological and methodological advances in educational measurement.

This report explores new approaches to measuring complex skills through a practical and applied assessment design lens, bringing together perspectives from leading experts to consider what we can learn from the learning sciences to define more authentic assessment experiences and expand the range of skills we are able to measure in both disciplinary and cross-disciplinary contexts of practice. The report also examines how technology can expand our possibilities for innovation, including the creation of more interactive and immersive problems and the generation of meaningful sources of potential evidence about students’ proficiency. Finally, the report explores how we can make sense of the rich data captured in interactive digital environments using new analytical approaches, and how we can ensure the valid interpretation and use of results from innovative assessments.

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Conclusions and implications

This chapter reviews the arguments and evidence presented across the preceding chapters in this report in support of the proposition that innovation in assessment is both desirable and feasible. Many advances have been made in the conceptualisation, design and interpretation of innovative assessments of the 21st Century competencies that are and will be required of an educated citizenry for the foreseeable future. The chapter considers the challenges in bringing such innovative assessments to scale including the assembly of the intellectual, fiscal and political capitals needed to support such an enterprise. An example from PISA serves as an existence proof of the possible.

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