Assessment of 21st century skills

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National Institute of Education (Singapore)
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In response to the rapid process of globalisation and knowledge-based economies alongside the transformational development of information and communication technologies (ICT) in our life, several frameworks have been developed to address competencies or skills required for success in 21st century society and workplaces. In line with such demands, learning, teaching, and assessment of 21st century skills have become urgent; however, assessment of 21st century skills is still in its infancy and one of the weakest points in current efforts to integrate these skills in the school curricula. Thus, assessment reform clearly needs more attention in policy and practice. To that end, this paper aims to focus on the potential and pragmatic assessments of 21st century skills. This paper consists of 4 sections. Section 1 discusses the necessary characteristics for 21st century skills assessment which determine the types, criteria, and purpose of the tests. Section 2 summarises different assessment methods—self-ratings, others’ ratings, portfolios, situational judgment tests, performance tasks, computer and gamebased assessment—along with their advantages and limitations. However, given that today’s young generation of learners are digital natives, growing up with computers, video games, and social media, it is important that this paper focuses on technology-based assessment. In this regard, Section 3 is dedicated to technology-based assessment, comprising computer-based and game-based methods. It presents examples of each in assessing 21st century skills. Lastly, in section 4, the paper proceeds to outline the major challenges that need to be addressed in employing different methods to assess 21st century skills. It also offers suggestions and implications in terms of policy, practice, and theory for researchers, educators, and policymakers who wish to assess 21st century skills in classroom.
Aghazadeh, S. (2019). Assessment of 21st century skills (NIE Working Paper Series No. 14). Singapore: National Institute of Education.