NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ1048174
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
Assessing What We Value
Taylor, William
Independent School, v73 n2 Win 2014
In the June 2010 "Harvard Business Review," Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, wrote a column entitled "You Are What You Measure." In it, he thoughtfully prods business leaders to consider the problematic correlation between the tools for measuring progress and actual organizational progress. "Human beings," writes Ariely, "will adjust behavior based on the metrics they're held against. What you measure is what you'll get." In short, assessments drive outcomes, but these outcomes may not be optimal in either the short or long run. Teachers and schools assess what they value in the learning experience. There is a growing awareness in independent and public schools, however, that the skills that have been--and, in some cases, are still being--assessed are not the skills that will optimize students' ability to be successful in the 21st-century global economy. A national survey of corporate and nonprofit leaders reveals crucial insight into the preparation that such leaders are looking for in potential employees in order to productively move their organizations forward in a global economy. Ninety-three percent of employers are looking for a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems; these skills are considered more important than a candidate's undergraduate major. Ninety-five percent of employers indicate that they place priority on hiring college graduates with skills that will enable them to contribute to innovation in the workplace. More than 75 percent of those surveyed indicate that they want more emphasis to be placed on critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings. Ninety-five percent of employers believe that it is essential that those they hire demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity to sustain continued learning. Because time is the most cherished commodity in all schools, any shifts toward including more project-based learning, assessments involving real-world problems, and creative collaboration must come at the expense of spending less time on previous priorities. While the steps will vary from school to school, those electing to incorporate more 21st-century skills into their learning environments have generally done so by reducing the amount of time and emphasis they had placed on content mastery. For most schools, the operating rationale behind this decision is that priority must be given to developing the skills that students will need to productively, successfully, and creatively analyze, synthesize, and communicate widely accessible content. School traditions and habits aside, the simplest way to look at the assessment challenges is this: The assessments we use to evaluate students today should be geared toward their future and not our past.
National Association of Independent Schools. 1620 L Street NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-793-6701; Tel: 202-973-9700; Fax: 202-973-9790; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Georgia; Maryland; Tennessee