Future Works Skills – The challenge for the assessment system

Future Work Skills 2020 reportThere are a lot of projects underway around the world looking at the skills that students will need for the future workplace. I’ve just read the “Future Works Skills 2020” report, which was completed by the the Institute For The Future on behalf of the University of Phoenix Research Institute. It’s not a difficult read – they’ve worked hard to boil a lot of different information down into a concise 13 page report.

They’ve identified six disruptive shifts that will reshape the workforce and 10 key skills needed in the future workforce:

  • Sense-making
  • Social intelligence
  • Novel and adaptive thinking
  • Cross-cultural competency
  • Computational thinking
  • New-media literacy
  • Transdisciplinarity (A completely new word to me!)
  • Design mindset
  • Cognitive load management
  • Virtual collaboration

It’s worth reading the report to get the idea of what they mean by each of these skills – it made sense to me, and made me think more clearly about my current working environment, and the skills I have to use to succeed in it.

At the end they point out five big implications for educational institutions, whether they are schools, TAFEs or universities, and also the implications for businesses and government policy makers.

But there’s one big implication missing in their summary. How do you assess these skills using today’s assessment model? It’s another example of a growing gap between current assessment systems and the needs of the people that consume those assessments (eg higher education institutions and employers).

Alongside Cisco and Intel, Microsoft are sponsors of a global project, Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills, at the University of Melbourne. This is reviewing assessment of collaborative problem-solving and ICT literacy, but clearly the challenge is much bigger still than even this project, with 250 researchers and 60 universities taking part, can tackle!

Learn MoreRead the full "Future Work Skills 2020" report