Project

Cultivating and assessing capabilities for success in life, work and education

Goal: Currently advising OECD on 14 country study to cultivate/assess creativity/critical thinking, using our five-dimensional model of creativity; also with schools in Victoria, Australia; & craftsmanship/employability in FE – www.expansiveeducation.net

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Project log

Bill Lucas
added a research item
While interest in creative thinking in schools is growing across the world, detailed understanding of its implementation in educational jursidictions and, most importantly, in schools is hard to come by. Drawing on a range of published materials and on the insights of existing networks of schools and researchers engaged in creative thinking, the report offers a snapshot of where we are today. It is designed to stimulate thinking and encourage teachers, researchers and policy-makers.
Bill Lucas
added an update
With our partners in Australia, FORM, we have published this field guide to assessing creativity in schools. We are currently leading a 20 school action research project in England to understand more about the most effective ways of evidencing students' creative thinking in schools - https://rethinkingassessment.com/action-research/
 
Bill Lucas
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This is a joint publication between FORM in Western Australia and Rethinking Assessment in England.
 
Bill Lucas
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This review of evidence comes from our work exploring leadership in English Secondary schools. It is offered to schools across the world but especially those embarking on the new CreativityCollaboratives - https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/children-and-young-people/creativity-collaboratives
 
Bill Lucas
added 2 research items
This review of literature was commissioned by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to help deepen its understanding of meta-skills with a particular interest in work-based learning. The review pays particular attention to best practices in the science of learning and how this could be applied to apprenticeships in Scotland, to the role of the individual learner in the learning process, to the evaluation of meta-skills and to the transferability and translatability of meta-skills from one context to another. As a result of the review recommendations are offered for the further development and delivery of meta-skills in Scotland. Across the world there is a growing interest in frameworks which seek to describe the competencies, capabilities, dispositions, habits or wider skills which are likely to be most useful at work, in life and in learning. While there are different ways of grouping meta-skills, there is a growing consensus as to what these skills are. The foundation of this review has been an extensive search for relevant frameworks from across the globe that use words like 'attributes', 'capabilities', 'character', 'competences', 'habits', 'non-cognitive skills', 'soft skills', 'wider skills' to frame their understanding of meta skills. This review provides an overview of meta-skills frameworks and of the development practices associated with them. It offers pointers for best practice.
This review forms the initial foundation for a piece of work commissioned by the Mercers’ Company designed to help school leaders in secondary schools in England make creativity central to their students’ lives. Across the world the importance of creativity is increasingly acknowledged in education systems. But though leadership in schools is well-researched in general terms, leadership for creativity is not. In this review, we chart the establishment of a robust definition of creative leadership in schools, summarise the case for its importance today, and illustrate what it looks like in secondary schools. The review builds on the first report of the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education in 2019 and research by the OECD published in the same year by analysing the opportunities and challenges that secondary school leaders face if they truly wish to focus on developing the creativity of their students. From our reading of the literature, both scholarly and ‘grey’ sources, ‘creative leadership’ is the term we believe best encapsulates a kind of school leadership that explicitly develops the creativity of all of its members, staff and students alike. The concept of creative leadership and research relating to it is underdeveloped in education, while in other fields there is more consensus. Our understanding of ‘creative leadership’ in its broadest sense suggests that it is a helpful way of capturing the essence of school leaders’ role, and a starting point for considering how the sorts of challenges identified by the Durham Commission might best be met. Our review of the literature suggests that we need to reimagine the kind of leadership that will develop creative students (and creative staff) at a theoretical level, as well as clarifying the practical implications for leaders’ practices. Creative leadership will explicitly seek to cultivate creative habits in teaching staff who can, in turn, model these with their students. Creative leaders ensure that there are multiple opportunities for developing the creativity of all young people while at the same time recognising that for a school truly to be a creative organisation then developing the creativity of its leaders and staff is important both as a means to an end and as an end in itself. Leading for creativity is likely to mean setting an agenda for change that involves prioritising practices that develop creative leaders through collaboration within and across professional communities, that promote the development of creative cultures and structures and that utilise creative pedagogies. Creative leadership is a concept whose successful application in schools could benefit from the development of a range of professional learning resources for senior leaders in schools. This review aims to provide a basis for the development of a leadership toolkit that can be trialled for further development with leaders in English secondary schools, used to support a new professional learning community and, potentially, adapted for school leaders across the world.
Bill Lucas
added an update
We have recently created a new movement in England, Rethinking Assessment - https://rethinkingassessment.com/. This week we launched a report exploring the many different ways educational jurisdictions are seekign to eviodence capabilites/dispositions.
 
Bill Lucas
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As one of a small numnber of key capabilities it is interesteing to see how creativity is being positioned in state, national, European and international frameworks
 
Bill Lucas
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Bill Lucas
added a research item
A literature review of creativity - concepts and practices - and their visibility or otherwise in international, European and national frameworks. The publication is a technical report from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service. It aims to provide evidence-based scientific support to the European policymaking process.
Bill Lucas
added an update
Following the publication of the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education I have been thinking through with Nesta, (London, UK) what digital creative skills are, who is doing interesting things in this space and how they can be cultivated -
Would be good to hear from anyone also interested
 
Bill Lucas
added a research item
Digital Creativity is a new, dynamic, inter-disciplinary and rapidly growing field. While there is a growing clarity as to what creativity is the meaning of digital expands on a daily basis. Unsurprisingly digital creativity can mean many things to different in business, the third sector, in education and in informal learning. This scoping paper was written for a virtual event coordinated by Nesta, London, UK on 26th March 2020. The paper explores the idea of digital creativity skills - what are they, what progression looks like, how are they developed and identifies some promising practices.
Bill Lucas
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The Durham Commission, a collaboration between Arts Council England and Durham University, undertook extensive research to develop a definition of creativity, offer a vision for how this vision could be implemented in all schools in England and suggest specific policy and practice recommendations to ensure that the vision becomes reality.
Bill Lucas
added an update
I am delighted to say that this huge piece of research to which I and colleagues across the world have been contributign to is now published:
Fostering Students' Creativity and Critical Thinking: What it Means in School
 
Bill Lucas
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I am delighted to report that this was launched in London this week.
Originally stimulated by our five-dimensional model of creativity, the report is full of powerful evidence, useful rubrics and practical sugegstiosn for pedagogies and helpful ideas for formative assessment.
You can access it here:
The full citation is:
Vincent-Lancrin, S., et al. (2019), Fostering Students' Creativity and Critical Thinking: What it Means in School, Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/62212c37-en.
 
Bill Lucas
added a research item
It is 20 years since the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE) published its seminal work on the role of creativity in schools. Much has changed. Employers see the value of creativity. More than 70 countries across the world have it specified in their National Curricula. The Programme for International Student Assessment PISA plans to test it in 2021. But England, despite some outstanding school examples, still lags behind other countries in terms of the its policies to support the teaching of creativity. The author reflects on what is known about teaching and assessing creativity that might be of use to teachers today in England.
Bill Lucas
added an update
Am right in the thick of working on the Durham Commission for creativity in education and the final stages of the OECD-CERI four year research project exploring teaching and assessing creativity.
I keep coming back to the importance of culture in my thinking. You might like this blog in the UK's Times Education Supplement - https://www.tes.com/news/how-develop-habits-creative-thinking
 
Bill Lucas
added a research item
It's time to be more precise about which dispositions for learning are eternally important, which have particular resonance in today's fast moving times and why. 21st century skills can otherwise seem an evangelical un-evidenced cri de Coeur putting off good teachers from an important are of pedagogical dicussion
Bill Lucas
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As the twenty-first century runs it course it is increasingly unhelpful to talk of twenty-first century skills as if we either do not yet know what they are or somehow assume that they will remain the same for the next eight decades. The conversation needs to shift away from a rallying cry towards the detailed pedagogical design work needed by teachers to embed dispositions for learning in every aspect of the formal and informal life of school so that they will become habitual for all students, available to them for a lifetime of learning.
Bill Lucas
added an update
Yasodai Selvakumaran is a teacher at Rooty Hill High School in Sydney who has been developing the school's approach to teaching. She was a finalist in the 2019 Global Teacher Prize. It was my pleasure to connect with her and the staff of Rooty Hill High School last month on a two week visit to Australia. You can see her impressive masterclass here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia05xSXJ0Kg.
Earlier I had spent the week in Melbourne with the Victoria and Curriculum Assessment Authority where, with Dr Michelle Anderson, we explored with principals and teachers, the complexities of learnign transfer and the role/opportunities of critical and creative thinking in this.
Finally I worked with my longstanding colleague Paul Collard in Perth for FORM, an innovative community arts organisation, bringing schools and creative practitoners together using our five creative habits model, materials also uploaded.
 
Bill Lucas
added a research item
Across the world education ministries are acknowledging the importance of critical and creative thinking. The State of Victoria in Australia has led the world in thinking about how best critical and creative thinking can be taught and how assessed. This initial review of evidence looks at the relationship between implementing those aspects of critical and creative thinking which are specified by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and student achievement, especially in literacy and numeracy. It suggests that teaching critical and creative thinking positively impacts on achievement.
Bill Lucas
added an update
Following on from our review of literature connecting creative self-efficacy and meaningful social action we have produced a short film sumamrising the headlines of our findings. You can watch it here - https://vimeo.com/305960613.
 
Bill Lucas
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I was pleased (and honoured) to co-author and launch The Capable Country for the Mitchell Institute, an analyiss of the steps Australia might like to take if it is truly to embed capabilities in schools and early years settings and colleges....
 
Bill Lucas
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Since the Melbourne Declaration of 2008, Australia has been developing a curriculum in which capabilities have a valued place alongside knowledge and skills. This report examines research from across the world, provides an overview of promising practices in Australia and concludes with en eight step plan for effectively embedding capabilities in Australian schools.
Bill Lucas
added a research item
Are young people who believe that they are creative more likely to do good in the world? Using the concept of creative self-efficacy this review explores potential connections between creativity and meaningful social action. The review finds five potentially interesting connections which merit further investigation: 1. heightened imaginative awareness and potential empathy in the lives of others 2. levels of curiosity and interest in social issues 3. perseverance, self-efficacy and the likelihood of making a positive difference more widely 4. an interest in collaboration and a sense of social belonging 5. an ethic of excellence and a willingness to become involved in voluntary activities in areas of interest.
Bill Lucas
added a research item
Tenacity is an increasingly valued capability in young people. This article offers a new definition of the concept, the evidence for why it matters and some suggestions for what teachers might do to embed it in all aspects of school.
Bill Lucas
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Ever since schools were invented there have been debates about the degree to which the role of education is to be the supply side of the skills that employers want or something else. In the past few decades we have become much clearer about which skills are most important for employability and, excitingly, they bear a remarkable resemblance to what we also know to be the skills or habits of mind of good learners. Countries across the world are beginning to catch up with this news and reframing their education systems to focus on the development of young peoples' capabilities to stand them in good stead for university, for employment and for a lifetime of learning. This paper explores the ways in counties which reframe education in terms of skills, knowledge and capabilities can bring the worlds of school and employment closer together
Bill Lucas
added a research item
Creativity and creative thinking are attracting growing interest from economists, politicians, employers and educationalists. This article offers an overview of thinking over the last 70 years. It explores the five dimensional model of creative thinking developed by the Centre for Real-World Learning and reflects on recent decisions by OECD-PISA to test creative thinking in 2021.
Bill Lucas
added an update
Just back from Australia where the Mitchell Institute has published this snaphot of capability frameworks currently in use which are:
a) research-based
b) being used in more than one country.
The argument is essentially that they are not new and increasingly taking root both in national curricula and in frameworks which span borders.
 
Bill Lucas
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Young people need more than just subject knowledge in order to thrive - they also need capabilities. A key capability is tenacity. In this ground-breaking book the authors draw on a wide body of research into concepts such as grit, growth mindset, craftsmanship and deliberate practice to develop a robust and inclusive model of tenacity. Available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Developing-Tenacity-Teaching-persevere-difficulty/dp/1785833030
Bill Lucas
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An exciting development. Now working with the UK's Royal Yachting Association to explore the ways in which creativity, teamwork, communication, determination, independence and confidence can be cultivated in young people as they learn how to sail. Brochure is attached.
 
Bill Lucas
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The State of Victoria continues to focus on the implmentation of critical and creative thinking, one of four general capabilities new to the Australian curriculum. This comes at an interesting time in Victorian politics with an election in November of this year and some politicians challenging the Department of Education's energetic focus on capabilities.
In a wider sense the Gonski review of education gives an excellent opportunity for Australia to continue its leading role in this work, see my blog on The Mandarin website -
https://www.themandarin.com.au/89226-australia-can-regain-centre-stage-education/. I argue that trail-blazers like Australia must hold theri nerve while teachers gain the confidence necessary to introduce new pedagogies.
On the ground it was a delight to lead a packed event for schools last week, hosted by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and to read copies of the Melbourne Age (2 February) giving full coverage to the State's attempts to implement and assess critical and creative thinking.
 
Bill Lucas
added an update
The Lead Creative Schools Scheme aims to promote new ways of working in schools, providing the opportunity to develop an innovative and bespoke programme of learning designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
Lead Creative Schools have access to creative people, skills and resources to support them and to address these challenges.
A major focus of the work is using our model:
'The success of Lead Creative Schools depends on promoting the forms of creativity which evidence suggests has positive educational benefits. We therefore use a definition developed by Guy Claxton, Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer of the Centre of Real-World Learning at Winchester University. Their work focussed on the need to develop a language around creativity which teachers and pupils recognised, valued and were comfortable to use. The vocabulary developed was tested with teachers and in classrooms. Teachers confirmed that the ‘creative habits of mind’ as defined by Lucas et al were important in learning and easy to understand...'
 
Bill Lucas
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The global scope of this clear, practical guide makes it suitable for all teachers' says TES. 'It shouldn’t be controversial to assert that our children should learn both subject knowledge and skills at school, but, sadly, these are contentious times. Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer have delivered an incredibly clear and practical handbook for all those in education, but most importantly for teachers. This book is a veritable pedagogical treasure trove for those who want children to think creatively and who appreciate that this is a skill that can be taught.'
 
Ellen Mary Spencer
added a research item
In Spring 2011, Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) commissioned the Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) at The University of Winchester to undertake research to establish the viability of creating an assessment framework for tracking the development of young people's creativity in schools. The research and subsequent development work with teachers was a 'proof of concept' activity. Three overarching questions guided the research: 1. Is it possible to create an assessment instrument that teachers find useful (proof of concept)? 2. Would any framework be usable across the entire age span of formal education? 3. If a framework is to be useful to teachers and pupils, what approach to assessment should it adopt? After reviewing the literature on creativity and its assessment, and consulting expert practitioners, CRL created a framework for developing creativity in schools, and derived an assessment tool to trial in schools. Through two separate field trials our research suggested that the framework was sufficiently distinct from existing approaches to creativity to be useful and that from a teacher point of view, the framework was both rigorous and plausible.
Bill Lucas
added 2 research items
Young people need more than subject knowledge to thrive - they need capabilities. A key capability is 'creative thinking' which is to be the focus of a new 2021 PISA test, based on the authors' research at the University of Winchester's Centre for Real-World Learning. Teaching Creative Thinking is a powerful call to action and a practical handbook for all teachers seeking to embed creativity into the school experiences of all their students. Book available at http://amzn.eu/653Cw6O
Bill Lucas
added an update
Exciting news
Teenagers worldwide could be ranked on their creative thinking, under proposals for the 2021 Pisa tests. The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which is run by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is best known for measuring how 15-year-olds do in maths, reading and science. But now an advisory group has been asked to come up with a definition of creative thinking that can be assessed, and to recommend how to assess it, for the influential Pisa rankings.
The group is being co-chaired by Bill Lucas, professor of learning at the University of Winchester and Jack Buckley, senior vice-president for Research and Evaluation at the American Institutes of Research.
“Creative thinking is a multi-faceted concept involving the generation and refining of ideas as well as the processes by which such thinking can be improved," Professor Lucas, who is director of the Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) said. “Part of Pisa’s role here is to innovate, not to say ‘here’s another subject’, but to find what is already done across the curriculum and look at opportunities to link subjects together.”
The advisory group's work over the coming months is expected to draw on a model created by Professor Lucas and the CRL team that defines creativity in terms of five "habits of mind". These five habits are about being: inquisitive, persistent, collaborative, disciplined and imaginative. The final decision on whether Pisa will include a creativity assessment – and whether to rank the results – will be taken later in the process.
The full article from which this is taken appeared in TES online - https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/pisa-developing-creativity-tests-pupils
 
Bill Lucas
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Creativity is a major economic force in the 21 Century and increasingly we need to beyond conventional thinking to achieve our full potential in our personal and professional loves. The Creative Thinking Plan draws on a wide range of research to show how we can access our creativity more effectively and be more creative at work.
Bill Lucas
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These reports have been commissioned to introduce readers to the main principles, theories, research and debates in the field. They aim to introduce the major themes and writing pertaining to each area of study and to outline key trends and arguments. About the authors Ellen Spencer is senior researcher at the Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) at the University of Winchester. Her ESRC funded MA and Ph.D at the University of Warwick examined the impacts of government policy on capacity for school improvement. Much of her research work involves exploration of how teachers can foster cultivation of positive learning dispositions in pupils through classroom practice. She co-authored (with Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton) Making It, CRL's recent publication exploring the impacts of 'studio teaching' approaches on learning-mindedness and motivation of pupils. Bill Lucas is Co-Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning and Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester. He has been a school leader, the founding director of Learning through Landscapes, and CEO of the UK's Campaign for Learning. Bill is a worldwide speaker on learning, creativity, and leadership. A prolific author, his recent titles include: Evolution (which won the Innovation category in CMI Management Book of the Year) and (with Guy Claxton) New Kinds of Smart and The Creative Thinking Plan.
Bill Lucas
added a research item
Creativity is widely accepted as being an important outcome of schooling. Yet there are many different views about what it is, how best it can be cultivated in young people and whether or how it should be assessed. And in many national curricula creativity is only implicitly acknowledged and seldom precisely defined. This paper offers a five dimensional definition of creativity which has been trialled by teachers in two field trials in schools in England. The paper suggests a theoretical underpinning for defining and assessing creativity along with a number of practical suggestions as to how creativity can be developed and tracked in schools. Two clear benefits of assessing progress in the development of creativity are identified: 1) teachers are able to be more precise and confident in developing young people’s creativity, and 2) learners are better able to understand what it is to be creative (and to use this understanding to record evidence of their progress). The result would seem to be a greater likelihood that learners can display the full range of their creative dispositions in a wide variety of contexts. This paper was drafted for the CERI Innovation Strategy for Education and Training. It is the output of a collaborative research project commissioned by Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) in partnership with the OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI).
Bill Lucas
added 2 research items
Creativity is widely accepted as being an important outcome of schooling. Yet there are many different views about what it is, how best it can be cultivated in young people and whether or how it should be assessed. And in many national curricula creativity is only implicitly acknowledged and seldom precisely defined. This paper offers a five dimensional definition of creativity which has been trialed by teachers in two field trials in schools in England. The paper suggests a theoretical underpinning for defining and assessing creativity along with a number of practical suggestions as to how creativity can be developed and tracked in schools. Two clear benefits of assessing progress in the development of creativity are identified: 1) teachers are able to be more precise and confident in developing young people’s creativity, and 2) learners are better able to understand what it is to be creative (and to use this understanding to record evidence of their progress). The result would seem to be a greater likelihood that learners
Bill Lucas
added an update
Teaching and, more radically, assessing capabilities is now mandatory in the State of Victoria in Australia.
It has become increasingly clear, from work with the OECD and with schools in the State that there is a five step process to this:
1. Understand it - its components and what it looks like when students do it
2. Create climate for it - role models, co-curriculum, displays, language, rewards
3. Cultivate it
(a) - use two core processes: visible thinking; subject + capability (split screen teaching)
(b) - choose signature pedagogies
4. Build learner engagement - students own it
5. Use a range of assessment practices to track progression.
Most recently in my lasy visit in March we have been working with schools who have been part of Michael Fullan's New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning (NPDL) initiative. There is huge synergy between NPDL, our own Expansive Education Network (www.expansiveeducation.net), the work going on with the OECD and the work of VCAA and the Department of Education in Victoria as the presentation uploaded here shows.
 
Bill Lucas
added a research item
While there is no simple recipe for success in life, we are learning more about the capabilities which help children become more powerful learners and achieve more in conventional examinations
Bill Lucas
added an update
In 2017 the State of Victoria in Australia is starting not only to assess capabilities but also to assess them. But while other states and countries are wrestling with assessment, few are doing it. PISA is, of course, the obvious exception. Indeed it was coverage in the UK proess about the selction of Global Competence as the 2018 innovative domain test that got me thinking out loud that, if we value the so-called (unhelpfully called) soft skills, then we should try to track progress as learners acquire them.
It prompted me to write this blog for the UK's Times Education Supplement - https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/if-soft-skills-really-matter-then-we-should-try-measure-them.
You can read the whole piece here if you prefer.
In 2018, Pisa will be reporting on a new domain, Global Competence. The test will measure analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as intercultural understanding of global issues. It will also survey students’ attitudes through questionnaires to gauge their openness towards people from other cultures, respect for cultural otherness, global-mindedness and responsibility.
In 2015, Pisa tested another innovative domain, collaborative problem-solving, and, looking ahead, it has an ambitious programme for tackling related new capabilities. Sitting alongside established subjects - reading, maths and science – Pisa is signaling to the world that, as well as discipline-based knowledge, other capabilities matter too. As Andreas Schleicher puts it: "Ensuring that all people have a solid foundation of knowledge and skills must be the central aim of the post-2015 education agenda. "This is not primarily about providing more people with more years of schooling; in fact, that is only the first step. It is most critically about making sure that individuals acquire a solid foundation of knowledge in key disciplines, that they develop creative, critical thinking and collaborative skills, and that they build the character attributes such as mindfulness, curiosity, courage and resilience."
In other words, reading, maths, science, history, art, music and so forth are just a first step in a complex world. They are necessary but not sufficient for anyone learning, living and working in these challenging and fast-moving times where artificial intelligence, mass migration, growing religious intolerance and globalisation are just some of the real-world issues we face. Across the world Pisa is both revered and feared, so if you like the direction it takes with regard to assessment you are happy. But if you do not, then you may worry that it will usher in ways of working with which you disagree.
Many people – I am one of them – welcome developments like Pisa’s new global competence domain. But others do not, taking issue with its thinking. 'The language of education is rarely neutral' Such critical views were well captured in a recent TES article. It reported worries on many fronts including the reliability of measurements, parental perceptions, cultural validity and teacher competence. Interestingly the "soft skills" of the TES headline is a good example of how the language of education is rarely neutral. For many employers like the CBI who really value attributes such as creativity, perseverance and curiosity the use of the word "soft" sends two unhelpful messages; that they are less valuable than ‘hard’ skills (like maths) and that they are easy to learn (when they are not).
In fact, there is a growing global consensus about the kinds of capabilities which matter: they include perseverance, self-control, resilience, tolerance of diverse opinions, empathy, social competences and creativity. Psychologists, (Angela Duckworth, Martin Seligman), educational researchers (Lesley Gutman, Ingrid Schon) and economists (such as Nobel laureate James Heckman) all agree that these kinds of capabilities are good for society and good for educational performance. Mr Heckman suggests that such a consensus of opinion should: "Give pause to analysts and policy makers who rely solely on achievement tests to monitor school performance and school systems. Standardised achievement tests do not adequately capture many skills that matter in life. There is another compelling reason to embed capabilities into curricula. It’s morally right so to do. As Pisa’s global competence framework makes clear, countries need explicitly to care about human dignity and value cultural diversity as well as wanting to move up the Pisa performance league table.
Which brings us to an important question: can capabilities like those which make up global competence be assessed? The answer, it turns out is that they can, although measurement is inevitably complex. Work on assessing capabilities is underway in Asia and North America. A fourteen country study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) into the assessment of creative and critical thinking is taking place right now and similar research is being undertaken by Partnership for 21st Century Learning, Assessment and Teaching of 21 Century Skills, and New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning. From studies like these we know that we need to think carefully about teaching methods (how useful assessment is for learners); practicalities (how do-able it is for teachers in busy classrooms); and various technical issues (being sure results are reliable, valid and fair). Assessing capabilities is harder than assessing subjects and the evidence base is much less well-formed.
But across the world there are promising practices. In Victoria in Australia it is now mandatory not just to teach capabilities such as critical thinking and creativity and ethical understanding, but also to assess students’ progress in these areas. They lead the way here. For more than a hundred years in much of the world we have focused on teaching and assessing disciplinary knowledge in schools. Now we need to focus on capabilities as well. While this may not necessarily come naturally to all teachers and may even be resisted by some, it is vital work.
Professor Bill Lucas is director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester and an international adviser to the Mitchell Institute. He is the author of many books including, with Guy Claxton, Educating Ruby: What our children really need to learn. He tweets at @LucasLearn.
 
Bill Lucas
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A rapid evidence scan for the Dusseldorp Forum in Sydney, Australia. 1. The field of creativity is internationally well-developed and, over the last fifty years, there has been a growing understanding of creative learning in schools. 2. Creativity and hence creative learning are very broad concepts. Nevertheless creative learning can be defined in ways which teachers and practitioners find helpful. In the review a model published by OECD and developed by an Australian school is offered as a template. 3. There is general agreement that, like many capabilities, creativity can be learned. 4. There is a strong global consensus that creativity is an important capability in the 21st Century and, consequently, is a valued outcome of schooling. 5. Creative teachers and other practitioners report the many positive outcomes that young people gain from creative learning. But systematic evidence for the wider benefits of creative learning is less strong. Nevertheless there is the beginning of an encouraging evidence base.
Bill Lucas
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If we really want children to develop learning capabilities which will stand them in good stead throughout their lives, adults need to think carefully how they give feedback.
Bill Lucas
added a research item
Creativity is increasingly valued as an important outcome of schooling, frequently as part of so-called “21st century skills.” This article offers a model of creativity based on five Creative Habits of Mind (CHoM) and trialed with teachers in England by the Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) at the University of Winchester. It explores the defining and tracking of creativity’s development in school students from a perspective of formative assessment. Two benefits are identified: (a) When teachers understand creativity they are, consequently, more effective in cultivating it in learners; (b) When students have a better understanding of what creativity is, they are better able to develop and to track the development of their own CHoM. Consequently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has initiated a multicountry study stimulated by CRL’s approach. In Australia work to apply CRL’s thinking on the educational assessment of creative and critical thinking is underway.
Bill Lucas
added an update
I am keen to explore ways of building understanding with parent of what it means in practice to focus on building on cappabilities - https://theconversation.com/how-to-praise-your-child-why-simply-saying-well-done-is-not-helpful-66975 - and to understand some of the issues associated with the measurement of progress - https://theconversation.com/schools-will-teach-soft-skills-from-2017-but-assessing-them-presents-a-challenge-68749.
Guy Claxton and I have written directly to parents in our book Educating Ruby: what our children really need to learn, which is building into something of a campaign, too - http://www.educatingruby.org.
You can join us on twitter here - @LucasLearn and @EducatingRuby
 
Bill Lucas
added an update
Have just returned from a week in Melbourne working with schools implementing Australia's capability-led curriculum and prototyping approaches to assessment. It's clear that there are four useful sources of validation - students, teachers, experts provding authentic feedback and a range of online methods of use both formatively (e-portfolios) and summatively (reliable, levelled tests developed by ACER for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority).
I have begun to map some overlapping capability frameworks and enjoyed co-leading a day with Michael Fullan (creator fo New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning) with whom there is a good synergy in terms of both pedagogy and assessment practices.
Some of my slides are uploaded here. The work in Australia attracted a good piece in The Melbourne Age - http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/multiple-choices-a-more-creative-way-to-test-children-for-life-in-the-real-world-20161014-gs2pt8.html, although the choice of headline was stange given that multiple choice testing was exactly not what was being suggested!
In January 2017 the OECD group will reconvene to see how the 14 countries involved in the project are progressing and after which I will report.
Figuring out how to assess capabilities reliably and meaningfully is hard and we have much still to find out. But I believe the greater precision it calls for in our definitions of what we mean is extreemly helpful as is the requirement to reflect more on different assessment methods...
 
Bill Lucas
added a project goal
Currently advising OECD on 14 country study to cultivate/assess creativity/critical thinking, using our five-dimensional model of creativity; also with schools in Victoria, Australia; & craftsmanship/employability in FE – www.expansiveeducation.net