The Challenges of Measuring Soft Skills

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Without clear definitions and a measurement system for the soft skills required for future success, it is difficult for schools to assess progress and determine effective supports.

How do we measure soft skills?

How do we measure something we have not named or defined? If you ask your staff to define information processing or 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.

We all know soft skills are important

Schools know that students need more than just academic and technical skills to be future ready, but we don’t have a clear understanding of what success actually looks like, so we buy a curriculum, do some quick activities and use academic and discipline data to help us determine if students learned them. This lack of 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.

JAKAPA Measures Soft Skills

JAKAPA can help. We partnered with the BESSI Research Group from the University of Illinois and we use 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 other and 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 targets these 32 skills and provides measurement tools, skill builder activities and a platform that functions much like a fitness app where users can 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 and students can request others, such as mentors, coaches or parents, assess their skills. The assessments are customizable as well, so you can use JAKAPA as an impact measure to see if various programs you are using are having the intended impact.

Start Measuring Soft Skills Today

Call us today to schedule a demo to see how JAKAPA can help you identify and measure the critical 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, identify the solutions that work and ensure your students are future ready.

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