Why Research on 21st Century Skills Matters
Editor’s Note: Our guest blogger today is Tim Magner, Executive Director of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21).
Despite many education experts, business leaders, and higher education professionals joining the bandwagon to implement and highlight 21st century skills and helping define the now 10-year old 21st century skills movement, there’s been an important missing element: Research in the arena of 21st century skills to date has been scarce. With the release of the National Research Council's report Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century, we now have additional confirmation to support both the abundant opinion research and anecdotal evidence we have used over the years to advocate the importance and value of an education that includes both knowledge and skills.
P21 commends the National Research Council (NRC) and the sponsors of the report for producing the most comprehensive research-based articulation of the case for 21st Century skills to date. The caliber and breadth of the research community brought together on this effort speaks to not only its importance in the future of our education system, but to the impact these findings will have across the K-12 education spectrum. This report represents a historic validation of what the 21st century skills education community has worked hard to prove to the naysayers and skeptics.
Having defined 21st century skills and competencies within P21’s seminal Framework for 21st Century Learning, P21 applauds the alignment of the 21st century competencies highlighted in the report with those which P21 and its coalition of education, business, association, state and federal leaders recognize as essential for developing student readiness for college, citizenship, and career. The 4Cs of creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking, directly correlate to the three categories of 21st century competencies outlined by the report, which show “consistent, positive correlations with desirable education and career outcomes.”
P21 also welcomes the report’s recommendations for further research as well as Federal involvement in pursuing the important questions at the heart of the report with regards to interdisciplinary knowledge transfer.
This report represents a strong conceptual shift signaling the continued growth of 21st century skills movement – and should be regarded as a testament to the hard work being done by states, districts and schools in aligning curriculum and interdisciplinary integration across subject areas, and providing real world interconnections inherent in 21st century teaching and learning.
For its part, P21 is energized to continue to work with the 17 P21 Leadership States and partners to ensure next steps are taken to support the development of learning environments, 21st century competencies and skills in making our vision for 21st century education a reality for all students.
About P21: P21 is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the 3Rs and 4Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school.
Learn more at www.P21.org
Click here to browse dozens of Public School Insights interviews with extraordinary education advocates, including:
- 2013 Digital Principal Ryan Imbriale
- Best Selling Author Dan Ariely
- Family Engagement Expert Dr. Maria C. Paredes
The views expressed in this website's interviews do not necessarily represent those of the Learning First Alliance or its members.
Excellence is the Standard
At Pierce County High School in rural southeast Georgia, the graduation rate has gone up 31% in seven years. Teachers describe their collaboration as the unifying factor that drives the school’s improvement. Learn more...
- Transforming Learning
- The EDifier
- School Board News Today
- Legal Clips
- Learning Forward’s PD Watch
- NAESP's Principals' Office
- NASSP's Principal's Policy Blog
- The Principal Difference
- ASCA Scene
- PDK Blog
- Always Something
- NSPRA: Social School Public Relations
- AACTE's President's Perspective
- AASA's The Leading Edge
- AASA Connects (formerly AASA's School Street)
- NEA Today
- Angles on Education
- Lily's Blackboard
- PTA's One Voice
- ISTE Connects
What Else We're Reading
- Advancing the Teaching Profession
- The Answer Sheet
- Edutopia's Blogs
- Politics K-12
- U.S. Department of Education Blog
- John Wilson Unleashed
- The Core Knowledge Blog
- This Week in Education
- Inside School Research
- Teacher Leadership Today
- On the Shoulders of Giants
- Teacher in a Strange Land
- Teach Moore
- The Tempered Radical
- The Educated Reporter
- Taking Note
- Character Education Partnership Blog
- Why I Teach