- More than 80% of parents, teachers, superintendents and principals believe soft skills are as important to assess as academics, according to a report from NWEA and Gallup. But just 10% of teachers say current assessments measure these skills “very well,” wrote eSchoolNews.
- Most teachers think they need a better way to assess teamwork. Educators also believe soft skills, such as critical thinking, need to be taught at home.
- Nearly half of the parents surveyed, however, say that teachers aren’t sharing assessments of their children — and their results — with them.
Soft skills like critical thinking and problem solving can also include social and emotional learning tools, or SEL abilities. As curriculum designers look to include more of SEL, such as teamwork, into classroom leaning, knowing how to adequately assess these skills is crucial. But it’s not easily done.
Teamwork, for instance, is a crucial SEL tool that can help peers build empathy and respect for each other, as Education Dive has reported. Yet it’s not really possible to measure these skills in a standardized, multiple choice format.
Instead, educators may want to consider other assessment options, including awarding students digital badges, an idea highlighted in a 2014 report from Hanover Research. The group notes that students earn these rewards when they “demonstrate specific competencies in the classroom.” The badges are not only fun, but also reward students for “positive achievements, rather than the reductive identification of strengths and weaknesses.” That’s an assessment everyone — parents, teachers and most keenly, students — can get behind.