The use of international large-scale educational assessments for informing policies and practices has expanded over the past two decades. Initially, assessment focused on core school subjects, such as language, mathematics, and science, but in the past decade, interest has grown in 21st century skills, such as problem-solving, collaboration, information literacy, and civics and citizenship. However, these constructs—and particularly the social-emotional ones—are not ubiquitous across cultures and nationalities. Western definitions of these constructs may not be understood in the same way in Asian and African countries.
On November 10, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) hosted the second virtual event in a three-part series centered around assessment. This discussion looked at two separate assessment initiatives. The first, led by CUE as part of the Optimizing Assessment for All project, piloted a bottom-up method in formal education systems in six countries across Asia and Africa to establish definitions of select 21st century skills and then piloted assessment tools for use in the classroom. The second, being led by ALiVE as part of a regional education learning initiative, takes a community, household-based assessment approach across three African countries and is developing tools to advocate for policy change in education at the national level. The event featured presentations and discussions examining both initiatives’ approaches and their localization journeys across geographies, as well as the related implications for the development of assessment tools.
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