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Education

The second day of the 2012 Education World Forum (EWF) was a busy one, with a full schedule of talks and events.

In the morning opening keynote addresses were delivered by representatives of UNESCO, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Brookings Institute, and Intel. This was followed by two plenary sessions; the first addressed research from large-scale pilot projects and initiatives and the second focused on how countries such as Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are improving their national education systems.

In the afternoon a variety of Ministerial Exchange sessions were held across two time slots. This was the most significant moment for the ATC21S team, since we had an entire session scheduled, with a full panel of ATC21S experts. Subsequently, we were pleased to find that we drew a large crowd of EWF attendees.

Shelly Esque, Chair of the ATC21S Executive Board in 2011/2012 and VP of Corporate Affairs at Intel, chaired our session. Our speakers were Patrick Griffin, the ATC21S Executive Director; Shelly Esque; Dr Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University; Michael Stevenson, ATC21S Executive Board member and VP of Cisco; and Greg Butler, ATC21S Taskforce member and Senior Director of Worldwide Education Strategy at Microsoft. Anthony Mackay, Senior Fellow, University of Melbourne, and Esther Care, ATC21S International Research Coordinator, facilitated our session.

The ATC21S team kicked off the session by releasing a new short video that not only explains the collaborative problem solving tasks that we have developed, but shows them in use in a classroom in one of our pilot schools in Australia. The video gave viewers a good overview of these tasks, the skills that they measure, and the behind-the-scenes data that they have been set up to generate. Click here to watch the video on the ATC21S YouTube channel.

The team also shared the decisive news that PISA will assess collaborative problem solving skills in 2015. We also released this quote from Andreas Schleicher, the Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General and Head of the Indicators and Analysis Division at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) who said:

ATC21S has played an essential pathfinder role to move the assessment agenda forward. It fills a critical gap between existing basic research on assessment design and methodologies, on the one hand, and the implementation of large-scale assessments that provide reliable data at reasonable cost, on the other. Its latest venture, the piloting of tasks to assess collaborative problem-solving skills, provides important insights for OECD’s efforts to broaden future PISA assessments to encompass interpersonal skill dimensions.

The ATC21S team invited people to learn more by reading the ATC21S white papers that have recently been published in an edited, peer reviewed volume by Springer Science+Business Media. These white papers were commissioned for the project in 2010 and were written by academics who are world-renowned in their fields. Since the white papers have formed the basis for subsequent work on the ATC21S project, they will be of interest to everyone who is interested in learning about the ATC21S project, its goals, and the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological work undergirding our outcomes. The ATC21S white papers may also be downloaded here.

Finally, in the EWF Ministerial Session the ATC21S team emphasized their strong commitment to breaking new ground in the assessment and teaching of 21st century skills such as collaborative problem solving. We are excited to be part of this venture and will have much more to release in upcoming months.

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