The challenges of measuring soft skills

How do we measure something we have not named or defined? If you ask your teachers to define information processing, abstract thinking or cultural competence, you will get a variety of answers. Without concrete and shared definitions of the skills we want to develop in ourselves and our students, we cannot measure progress or design supports. 

Schools know that students need more than just academic and technical skills to be future ready. However, we don’t have a clear understanding of what success actually looks like. Oftentimes, we buy a curriculum, do some quick activities and use academic and discipline data to evaluate learning. Lacking a measurement system that is directly related to the skills we want to develop leaves us without quality data to help us understand what works.

Measure what matters

JAKAPA helps measure soft skills. We partnered with the BESSI Research Group from the University of Illinois and used their validated assessment to help you define and measure these skills. The BESSI Research Group did a comprehensive crosswalk of the many frameworks we use to describe these essential, durable, career readiness, work readiness, soft skills (we don’t even have a common name for the skills we want to develop!). They looked at OECD’s framework, CASEL’s social emotional skills framework, 21st Century skills and many others. BESSI concluded that while different organizations use different names and frameworks, we are essentially talking about a set of 32 skills that fall into five general domains: self-management, innovation, cooperation, emotional resilience and social engagement.

JAKAPA measures soft skills

JAKAPA targets these 32 skills and provides measurement tools, skill builder activities and a platform that functions much like a fitness app. Users are able to measure, train and track their skill development over time. We offer self-assessments using BESSI’s validated measurement tool and give users the ability to ask others for their perspectives. Teachers can assign peer assessments after group projects. Students can ask others, such as mentors, coaches or parents, to assess their skills. The assessments are customizable so JAKAPA can be used to see if your programs are having the intended impact.

Go to to schedule a demo to see how JAKAPA can help you identify and measure the critical soft skills your students and staff need to succeed. Including JAKAPA data in your building and teacher team meetings will help you reduce the noise from multiple initiatives related to readiness. You can also identify the solutions that work and make sure your students are future ready.

Ready to Discover JAKAPA? Let's Dive In!

 At JAKAPA, we are passionate about developing soft skills and are excited to share more with you. 

Explore the possibilities of implementing JAKAPA in your district by clicking here

If you’re eager to understand the inner workings of JAKAPA, click here

Prefer a hands-on approach? Engage with our clickable prototype by clicking here

Take the plunge and schedule a short demo with our team by clicking here

We can’t wait to connect with you!

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