A monthly update on research from the Assessment, Curriculum and Technology Research Centre
View this email in your browser
Welcome to the ACTRC Newsletter, Issue 4, October 2016

Education for the 21st Century

Rapid economic and social changes resulting from technological advances and globalisation are transforming daily life and work for many of the world's citizens. Educators and employers have increasingly recognised that a new set of skills is required to succeed in this changing world. Solutions are needed for new kinds of problems that require greater communication, collaboration, critical thinking, flexibility and innovation. The skills required to meet these new challenges span various disciplines and have become known collectively as '21st Century skills' or 'transversal competencies.' ACTRC is involved in two research projects designed to help meet the challenge of teaching and assessing these skills: Assessment of Transversal Competencies in the Asia-Pacific and 21st Century Skills in the Philippines.

The Assessment of Transversal Competencies project, organised by UNESCO Bangkok through its Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific, is exploring approaches to the assessment of transversal competencies in nine Asia-Pacific jurisdictions: Australia, Hong Kong, India, Mongolia, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Reports from these jurisdictions focus on practices adopted, challenges encountered, and lessons that can be drawn for the future. This international research is being coordinated by ACTRC Director Esther Care and the report on the Philippines was written by ACTRC Co-Director Therese Bustos and ACTRC Research Officer Joesal Marabe, who interviewed Philippine educators and made classroom observations.

In the Philippines, as in other countries, transversal competencies are not taught independently but embedded in the various subjects of the curriculum. While this creates some uncertainty about how to implement teaching of these skills, the ACTRC report on the Philippines indicates that a very wide range of the skills is being taught and assessed by Philippine teachers. Among the many skills assessed through curriculum subjects are ICT skills, organisational skills, creativity, perseverance, responsibility, collaboration, ethical understanding and respect for diversity. One transversal competency – critical thinking – was found to be assessed independently as a topic directly covered by questions in the National Achievement Test for Grade 10. The shortage of other assessment materials designed to target transversal competencies was one of the challenges reported by teachers and administrators in the Philippines. Other challenges were uncertainty regarding the definition of the skills, lack of technical expertise on teaching and assessing the skills, and curriculum pressure to focus on the content of subject areas. 

The challenge of developing assessments designed for transversal competencies embedded in curriculum subjects is being directly addressed by the ACTRC project 21st Century Skills in the Philippines. Drawing on the work of the Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills project, which ran from 2009-2012, ACTRC researchers have collaborated with DepEd's Bureau of Educational Assessment to conduct a review of global and national frameworks of 21st Century skills, identifying alignments with the Philippine K–12 curriculum and its goal of nurturing the holistically developed Filipino who possesses college and livelihood readiness for the 21st Century. To achieve this goal, K–12 graduates should be equipped with three sets of skills – information, media and technology skills; learning and innovation skills; and effective communication skills – which lead to a fourth set: life and career skills. The review found that the first three of these sets of skills are directly teachable and learnable and that they converge to equip graduates for life and career beyond school.
Focusing on the sets of skills that it found to be directly teachable and learnable, ACTRC's team together with the Bureau of Educational Assessment identified seven sub-skills that are individually assessable at different levels of competence: technology literacy, information literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, communication, and collaboration. Three of these sub-skills – information literacy, critical thinking and problem solving – were selected for pilot testing, and assessment blueprints were developed using subject matter from English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies curricula. Test items were written and reviewed by panels of experts with the aim of ensuring that they tested the specified 21st Century skills rather than knowledge of the discipline content, which was incidental to the assessment. The pilot tests were administered to students in Grades 6 and 8 in the National Capital Region and results were positive, confirming the potential for assessing 21st Century skills within subject areas of the K–12 curriculum.
Transversal competencies or 21st Century skills are embedded in the core values of the K–12 reform and while their trans-disciplinary nature makes them more challenging to teach and assess than traditional curriculum content, Philippine teachers are engaging with them through their delivery of traditional content. The development of tools designed to assess these skills through a range of subject areas will aid teachers in this endeavour and help to ensure that graduates of Philippine basic education are equipped with skills that prepare them for life in the 21st Century.
Copyright © Assessment, Curriculum and Technology Research Centre, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Assessment, Curriculum and Technology Research Centre · Unit 3 & 4, Ground Floor, Building 1, Centennial Dormitory, Albarracin Hall · E. Jacinto Street corner C.P. Garcia Avenue, University of the Philippines, Diliman · Quezon City 1101 · Philippines

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp