In today’s world, students must be able to think critically, communicate effectively, collaborate, and solve problems. While many countries are committed to addressing the changing needs of their learners, there is a lack of knowledge about how these skills are developed in classroom settings and how education systems can support the process.
Optimizing Assessment for All (OAA) is an initiative of the Brookings Institution that seeks to address these challenges by strengthening education systems’ capacity to integrate 21st century skills (21CS) into their teaching and learning, using assessment as one important means of building that capacity. A central project objective is the need to shift minds toward the constructive use of assessment to support learning for all. OAA is based on the premise that many countries are confronted with similar issues when it comes to teaching, learning, and assessing 21CS, and that the best approach is to work together to find solutions. This means countries collaborating to build their capacity in pedagogical and assessment approaches that target 21CS.
Since its inception in 2017, OAA has focused on developing expertise in countries in Asia and Africa through two studies to improve the assessment, teaching, and learning of 21CS. Supported by the Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific at UNESCO Bangkok and the Teaching and Learning Educators’ Network for Transformation at UNESCO Dakar, the first study obtained baseline information on assessments of 21CS that are currently used in these two regions. The study included participants from eight countries and jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific and nine in sub-Saharan Africa. The research provided an alternative perspective on how to approach the teaching and assessing of 21CS in the classroom and set the foundation for the second study. See the Asia-Pacific region report for more on the first study; the report for Africa is forthcoming.
For the second study, which is ongoing, Brookings is working intensively with three countries in Asia and three countries in Africa to design, develop, administer, and pilot classroom-based assessments of 21CS, as well as to disseminate this work. This study aims to increase assessment literacy among regional and national education stakeholders and develop capacity among teachers on the use of classroom-level assessment of 21CS to support learning. Over the course of the study, the six countries are convening around a collaborative learning approach, building upon existing assessment expertise and strengths, and sharing progress and learnings with countries in the region. Learn more about OAA project description and our OAA Partners, including the National Technical Team members for each country.