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The New Skills Issue

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Everywhere we turn, someone is encouraging schools to focus less on facts and more on skills for school, work, life, and citizenship in the 21st century. Most educators agree about the importance of the essential noncognitive (or metacognitive or “soft”) skills — especially problem solving, collaboration, creativity, communications, a global perspective, and a mindset of ongoing learning. But the degree to which schools should shift their curricula to focus on such skills is a matter of debate. How to assess them may be even more challenging. This issue focuses on how schools are approaching the new skills in and out of the classroom.

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