One of the biggest questions that came out of the recent design and build of a school makerspace was: How can we meaningfully assess the learning that is happening here?
Pellegrino (2014) states:
Research on cognition and learning suggests a broad range of competencies that should be assessed when measuring student achievement, many of which are essentially untapped by current assessments. Examples are knowledge organization, problem representation, strategy use, metacognition, and participatory activities (e.g., formulating questions, constructing and evaluating arguments, contributing to group problem solving” (p. 243).
When one looks on the internet, there are numerous examples of frameworks for 21st century learning competencies (e.g., P21, C21, Alberta Education Framework for Student Learning). What is more difficult to find are practical tools, other than rubrics, to assess these competencies.
Implementation of teaching and learning environments with a focus on 21st century competencies will continue to be a challenge, without the accompanying assessments that will be practical to implement and informative in terms of learning and teaching. Pellegrino calls for learning scientists to “embrace the challenge of designing assessments that are aligned to our evolving conceptions of what it means to know and to learn” (p. 249). This will be critical if we are to create future learning environments that develop the doers and thinkers of tomorrow.
Alberta Education. (2011). Framework for student learning: Competencies for engaged thinkers and ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit. Retrieved February 2, 2016 from https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/4c47d713-d1fc-4c94-bc97-08998d93d3ad/resource/58e18175-5681-4543-b617-c8efe5b7b0e9/download/5365951-2011-Framework-Student-Learning.pdf
Milton, P. (2012). Shifting Minds: A 21st Century Vision for Public Education in Canada. C21 Canada. Retrieved February 2, 2016 from http://www.c21canada .org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Summit-design-English-version-Sept.-26.pdf
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2011). Framework for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved February 2, 2016 from http://www.p21.org/ storage/documents/1.__p21_ framework_2-pager.pdf
Pellegrino, J. W. (2014). A learning sciences perspective on the design and use of assessment in education. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (2nd ed.) (pp. 233-252). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.