How to Measure 21st Century Student Outcomes
Contrary to my college math teacher, the graphing calculator did not ruin the intellectual capacity for math in myself or others. It was simply a tool I could use efficiently only after I understood the content and principles taught. Now every school supply list includes a graphing calculator- change is a constant but are schools prepared for change. Do we really know what we are preparing our students for let alone how to measure 21st century student outcomes. The P21 Commissions 21st Century Student Outcomes, linked below, should drive systematic linkages between the rigorous core curriculum. High schools must determine how to measure 21st century student outcomes.
Our challenge with these outcomes, not unlike any outcomes, does not lie with the development of outcomes but with measuring the impact. Schools are adept at using existing measurements for student recall of content knowledge. The challenge is how to measure mastery and connectivity in innovation, technology skills, life skills, etc…
School districts and staff must be willing to open up the conversation and relinquish some of the control to the business community in designing the student outcomes and examples of student outcome mastery. Business representatives must be at the table to help develop the outcomes and the instructional activities, projects and work place experiences that will provide our student the necessary opportunities for relevant mastery of the 21st Century Student Outcomes.
School districts inability or reluctance to invest monetary capital into technology infrastructure, professional development, hardware and software necessary to ensure our students are technology literate and proficient. Technology is tool that our students must be adept at using to be successful and competitive in a 21st Century global work force. Without providing students daily access to these essential tools and them expecting them to be a successful employee would be akin to training a surgeon without surgical experience and saying go forth and operate.