03 SES 12 A, Evaluation of Curriculum Integration
There is growing recognition of the importance of learners gaining transversal or 21st century skills in order to thrive in the contemporary world. For educators, however, this raises more questions than answers. How can 21st century skills be operationalised in education settings? How can teachers encourage learners to strengthen them? And how can learner progress in gaining such skills be evaluated?
In this paper we draw on work that we are doing to define conceptual frameworks for creativity and curiosity. Our goal is to enable learners to evidence achievement, and teachers to recognise it. The setting for this work are the four International Baccalaureate programmes, from primary to upper-secondary level, and delivered in 155 countries. The frameworks draw on extensive scholarly literature to define the tangible skills, knowledge and attributes that are representative of creativity and curiosity. This is the first step in the development of a learner profile mastery transcript in which learner achievement can be recorded, and progress tracked.
The positive roles creativity and curiosity play in education are well established, and yet the concepts remain slippery. Empirical links have been made between curiosity and a range of aspects that facilitate learning, including inquiry (Murayama, 2019), knowledge acquisition (Kashdan et al., 2018), memory (Gruber et al., 2014), engagement (Vracheva et al., 2020), academic achievement and life satisfaction, perhaps because curiosity enables individuals to better deal with ambiguous situations (Kashdan & Steger, 2007). Studies show that creativity is related to social and emotional factors in schools with two key aspects (persistence, and openness to experience) shown to be positively associated with improved education and future job prospects (Kautz et al., 2014).
The first of these skills, curiosity, lies at the intersection of psychological and educational research and there is no clear consensus regarding its conceptualisation. There is disagreement on whether curiosity can be separated from interest (Murayama et al., 2019); whether the feelings attached to curiosity are positive or negative (Loewenstein, 1994) and whether curiosity is an innate characteristic of individuals or a temporary phenomenon (Grossnickle, 2016).
Creativity has similar challenges regarding definition. There are more than 60 current definitions of creativity (Furnham & Bachtiar, 2008). A distinction is made between “Big-C” creativity, recognised as the rare kind of ‘breakthrough’ thinking ((Barbot et al., 2011: 58) and “small-c” creativity which refers to the small ideas that enhance and enrich everyday lives. There are two main theoretical perspectives regarding the nature of creativity – one seeing it as domain-general and the other as domain-specific, where creative skills are specific to a particular discipline (Plucker and Zabelina, 2009).
The frameworks need to not only define creativity and curiosity in ways that are tangible, but also that are applicable for learners across diverse ages, countries and cultures. Claims about universality of either concept are questionable. Moreover, the frameworks will need to facilitate evidencing (defined broadly) rather than formal assessment. This is because measurement of both constructs is challenging, as it may depend on associated variables and the specific construct being examined (Reiter-Palmon et al, 2019). Moreover, it is common to use self-report measures to measure creativity and curiosity (Wagstaff et al. 2020) and these have been shown to function poorly when used by children.
In doing this work, ACER is drawing on its expertise in the design of frameworks to underpin learner assessment, but in this project we are working towards an approach in which learners, either independently or in collaboration with teachers, develop a portfolio to demonstrate how they practice curiosity and creativity either in general, in relation to particular domains, or even in their out of school activities. This work is taking place in parallel with a project that aims to identify promising classroom practices in encouraging learners to strengthen creativity and curiosity. Prior to the in-depth review of literature that forms the theoretical foundation of this research, a symposium was held to inform, in practical and concrete ways, the theory, design and understanding of implementation contexts, and in situ use of the mastery transcript. This was accomplished by bringing together experts and stakeholders from across the world including creativity and curiosity researchers, school representatives including teachers and heads of schools and IB staff. The symposium focused on key questions of definition and application and were addressed through moderated expert panels and design laboratory sessions. Drawing on the standard approach to framework development utilised by ACER, the frameworks include: (a) the definition of each construct; (b) the sub-constructs that comprise each construct; (c) the aspects that constitute each sub-construct; (d) efforts to measure each construct and/or its sub-constructs or aspects (both in terms of formal testing and in terms of teacher collation of a variety of forms of evidence); (d) the skill development levels that define achievement of each aspect; and (e) exemplar approaches to evidencing each aspect. While the literature review provided the current state of research on curiosity and creativity, it was clear there was no consensus on the definition of either construct. Furthermore, some areas within each construct are under-researched and simply unknown, highlighting the difficult task ahead of turning current research and experience into frameworks for the development of mastery transcripts. Fortunately, this is familiar terrain for ACER staff who have successfully developed similar frameworks for critical thinking (Heard et al., 2020) and collaboration (Scoular et al., 2020). To refine these frameworks, extensive consultations with teachers around the world as well as IB staff will take place, prior to their pilot implementation in a small number of schools. The frameworks and transcript will be accompanied by support materials for teachers to aid operationalisation in classrooms.
At classroom, year and whole school levels, the mastery transcript will support evidence informed decision making in ways that have not previously been available to the thousands of schools that implement IB programmes around the world. While this project focuses on creativity and curiosity, the approach used could be expanded to any 21st century skill. • At the classroom level, teachers will be able to use the transcript to evidence learner skills development and progress to inform the targeting of classroom activities and interventions aimed at supporting growth in 21st century skills. • Learners will be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and ways in which they can improve. • At a year level, mastery transcript data will provide a valuable source of evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies and interventions implemented by teachers to support learner skills development. • This data will further support the identification of collaborative possibilities among teachers, and teachers’ professional learning needs. • At a whole school level, aggregate mastery transcript data will assist school leadership teams in determining the effectiveness of policy and programming intended to impact skills development across a school community. • Across schools implementing IB programmes around the world, the mastery transcript will introduce a system wide approach to evidencing learners’ 21st century skills development in schools in more than 155 countries. Ultimately, the intention is that beyond acknowledging the importance of 21st century skills for learners, schools and teachers will be able to encourage, recognise and support learners to strengthen their skills, better preparing them for their future lives. While the focus is on IB programmes, it is hoped that the findings from this research - in addition to findings from the parallel study on promising practices, will have implications and value for all schools.
Barbot, B., Besançon, M., & Lubart, T.I. (2011). Assessing Creativity in the Classroom. The Open Education Journal, 4(1), 58–66. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874920801104010058 Furnham, A., & Bachtiar, V. (2008). Personality and intelligence as predictors of creativity. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(7), 613–617. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2008.06.023 Grossnickle, E.M. (2016). Disentangling Curiosity: Dimensionality, Definitions, and Distinctions from Interest in Educational Contexts. Educational Psychology Review, 28(1), 23–60. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-014-9294-y Gruber, Matthias J., Gelman, Bernard D., & Ranganath, C. (2014). States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit. Neuron, 84(2), 486-496. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.060 Heard, J., Scoular, C., Duckworth, D., Ramalingam, D., Teo, I., & Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). (2020). Critical Thinking: Skill Development Framework. Kashdan, T.B., & Steger, M.F. (2007). Curiosity and pathways to well-being and meaning in life: Traits, states, and everyday behaviors. Motivation and Emotion, 31(3), 159–173. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-007-9068-7 Kashdan, T.B., Stiksma, M.C., Disabato, D.J., McKnight, P.E., Bekier, J., Kaji, J., & Lazarus, R. (2018). The five-dimensional curiosity scale: Capturing the bandwidth of curiosity and identifying four unique subgroups of curious people. Journal of Research in Personality, 73, 130–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2017.11.011 Kautz, T., et al. (2014), "Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success", OECD Education Working Papers, No. 110, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/5jxsr7vr78f7-en. Loewenstein, G. (1994a). The psychology of curiosity: A review and reinterpretation. Psychological Bulletin, 116(1), 75–98. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.116.1.75 Murayama, K. (2019). A reward-learning framework of autonomous knowledge acquisition: An integrated account of curiosity, interest, and intrinsic-extrinsic rewards. OSF Preprints. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/zey4k Plucker, J., & Zabelina, D. (2009). Creativity and interdisciplinarity: One creativity or many creativities? ZDM, 41(1–2), 5–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-008-0155-3 Reiter-Palmon, R., Forthmann, B., & Barbot, B. (2019). Scoring Divergent Thinking Tests: A Review and Systematic Framework. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity & the Arts, 13(2), 144–152. https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000227 Scoular, C., Duckworth, D., Heard, J., Ramalingam, D., & Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). (2020). Collaboration: Skill Development Framework. Vracheva, V.P., Moussetis, R., & Abu-Rahma, A. (2020). The Mediational Role of Engagement in the Relationship Between Curiosity and Student Development: A Preliminary Study. Journal of Happiness Studies, 21(4), 1529–1547. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-019-00140-8 Wagstaff, M. F., Flores, G. L., Ahmed, R., & Villanueva, S. (2020). Measures of curiosity: A literature review. Human Resource Development Quarterly, https://doi.org/10.1002/hrdq.21417
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