The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has announced that seven states have received this year’s 21st Century Skills Practice of the Year Award, which commemorates the country’s preeminent state-led education reform initiatives. Six states received the award last year.
Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin were honored at Institute.21, an annual event showcasing the progress states have made toward infusing 21st century skills into core subjects. The Institute highlights the impact 21st century skills initiatives have on student engagement and achievement.
Iowa received their award for the state's core curriculum and "Authentic Intellectual Work" (AIW). The "Iowa Core Curriculum" (ICC) defines the essential knowledge and skills that each student must learn to succeed in postsecondary life. The ICC includes content areas such as literacy, math, science, and social studies and 21st century skills like civic, health, financial and technology literacy. In conjunction with the core curriculum, the AIW created a framework that sets standards for teaching academic subjects that maximize rigor, increase student engagement, support in-depth coverage of material, and equip students with the skills required to prosper in today’s world.
Another award recipient, New Jersey, was honored for the state’s "Standards Revision Project," which aligned state content standards with the knowledge and skills needed for postsecondary education and the global workplace. The project specifically focused on nine content areas: arts, health education, literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, technology, and 21st century careers.
West Virginia was honored for the state's work to create rich authentic classroom assessments that integrate engaging content and learning skills. The project, "Assessing 21st Century Skills through Relevant and Engaging Content Applications," designed quality standards-focused project learning units for teachers of English, mathematics, science and social studies that include opportunities to develop and assess 21st century skills.
Kansas has become a national leader in creating "Profiles for 21st Century Learning." The profiles, which guide educators as they integrate academic and career learning with effective instructional practices, serve as a national model for how to develop a common vision that supports the structure, climate and culture of learning.
Maine received the 21st Century Skills Practice of the Year Award for "Creating the Conditions for All Students to Graduate Post-Secondary, Career, and Citizenship Ready for the 21st Century." The project focuses on creating a standards-based education system in which students will have opportunities to learn via multiple pathways to demonstrate mastery of skills and knowledge.
North Carolina was honored for the state's "Writing Instruction and Assessment System Pilot," a program that provides students the opportunities to develop and enhance the writing skills necessary to communicate effectively in today's world. The program encourages complex writing assignments and promotes teaching practices that focus on draft-and-revision cycles, rather than as preparation for a single, on-demand writing test.
The "Wisconsin Task Force on Arts and Creativity in Education" addressed the essential role arts education plays in the lives of students, their future and quality of life and the state's economy. The Task Force found that by focusing on knowledge, the arts, and 21st century skills, an education program can stimulate innovation and creativity and enable entrepreneurship.
Source: Partnership for 21st Century Skills, www.21stcenturyskills.org/