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Essential Skills Guidance


Essential Skills Guidance

Standards Review and Revision Committee Resource Developed by:

CDE Competencies and Skills Internal Support Team

  • Floyd Cobb, Executive Director, Teaching and Learning
  • Melissa Colsman, Associate Commissioner, Division of Student Learning
  • Karol Gates, Director, Office of Standards and Instructional Support
  • Nancie Linville, Retired Director, Office of Early Learning & School Readiness
  • Roseyn Hood, Special Assistant to the Commissioner

  • Scott Ross, Director, Office of Learning Supports
  • Robin Russel, Graduation Guidelines Manager, Office of Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness
  • Misti Ruthven, Director, Office of Postsecondary Readiness
  • Becky Russell, School Library/Digital Literacy Instructional Specialist, State Library
  • Sharon Triolo-Moloney, Retired P-3 Alignment Director


Colorado Essential Skills

Purpose:

In 2008, Colorado passed legislation (Senate Bill 212, also known as CAP4K) that requires the State Board of Education to adopt content standards that prepare students for the 21st century workforce and for active citizenship upon receiving a high school diploma. In addition to the requirement that students meet those content standards, students must also (to the extent practicable) develop and demonstrate skills (Fig. 1) essential for success in professional life. The same law also requires a revision to the Colorado Academic standards by July 1, 2018, and every six years thereafter.

During the 2008-10 standards development process, these skills were referred to as “21st Century Skills.” However, the standards review and revision process created an opportunity for these skills to be revisited and clarified. In an effort to update Colorado’s 21st Century Skills and better align these skills from preschool through postsecondary, the Colorado Department of Education brought together a cross-unit team of specialists to create this Essential Skills Guidance Resource document that would serve as a supplement to the revised Colorado Academic Standards. The intention of this guiding document is to clearly identify how these statutorily identified skills manifest in early childhood and continue through their postsecondary pursuits leading to in-demand employment skills. Developmentally appropriate support for these skills should occur in all subject areas throughout students’ academic careers. Understanding the importance of these skills is the first step in achieving life-long success for all students.

Essential Skills Framework Development:

The framework for the Essential Skills document was influenced by the groundwork laid by the in-demand skills identified in the 2015 Colorado Talent Pipeline Report (PDF). The Pipeline report was authored by the Colorado Workforce Development Council in partnership with a number of state agencies[1]. The goal of this publication was to explore Colorado jobs that have high growth rates in an effort to better align student skills with behaviors necessary for successful employment in Colorado. To that end, the group “… identified 20 core skills necessary to enter the workforce or continue education beyond high school; these include skills such as critical thinking, creativity, self-direction, cultural awareness, time management and self-advocacy” (CWDC, 2016, p. 5). These skills were grouped under four core categories of Entrepreneurial, Personal, Civic/Interpersonal and Professional skills to add greater clarity to the dispositions that all graduates should demonstrate. This Essential Skills document uses these core skills categories to group the essential P – 12 academic skills from CAP4K to enable focus on the development of postsecondary and workforce skills that Colorado graduates should demonstrate.

Figure 1: Essential Skills Required in the Colorado Academic Standards

  • creativity and innovation skills;
  • critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
  • communication and collaboration skills; social and cultural awareness; civic engagement
  • initiative and self-direction;
  • flexibility;
  • productivity and accountability;
  • character and leadership;
  • the ability to use the information and communications technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information

As this document was in the process of refinement, CDE sought feedback from the public and other statewide participants in business and industry, education, non-profit organizations and government sectors. This process occurred throughout 2017, helping to improve the final version of this resource guide.

The Essential Skills resource document has been developed to ensure that the core skills can be meaningfully applied regardless of age/grade. The framework relies upon the Dreyfus model (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1980, 2005) which delineates the acquisition of skills from Novice, Advanced Beginner, Competent, Proficient and Expert. The model “… describes changes in skill performance as moving from reliance on rules, to analysis, toward intuition based on past experience” (Maine Department of Education (n.d.), p.iii).

With the understanding that these skills must incorporate developmental stages relevant for a preschool-12 audience, the Dreyfus model has been modified to Novice, Advanced Beginner, Strategic Learner and Emerging Expert, which are also found in a similar document produced by the Maine Department of Education (Maine Department of Education (n.d.), p.iii). The demonstration of each of these essential skills are cumulative as indicated by the word and that resides at the beginning of each subsequent indicator. For example, an advanced beginner in the informed risk-taking category under personal skills should be able to “demonstrate a willingness to try new things, and demonstrate flexibility, imagination and inventiveness in taking on tasks and activities.”


Personal Skills[2]

A Colorado graduate demonstrates personal skills through self-awareness, initiative and self-direction, personal responsibility and self-management, adaptability and flexibility, and perseverance and resilience. A student with these skills can:

 

Novice

Advanced Beginner

Strategic Learner

Emerging Expert

Self-Awareness

Accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts and values and how they influence behavior

… and

appropriately express one’s own emotions, thoughts and values and identify how they influence behavior

… and

assess personal strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism and a ‘growth mindset’

… and

adapt to environments with appropriate emotions and behaviors, demonstrate personal awareness through the development of positive relationships

Initiative/

Self-Direction

Recognize personal characteristics, preferences, thoughts and strengths

… and

pursue opportunities to engage and learn interests

… and

apply knowledge to set goals, make informed decisions and transfer to new contexts

… and

make responsibility for and pursue opportunities

Personal

Responsibility

Handle impulses and behavior with minimal direction

… and

discern differences of effective and ineffective processes, communication and tasks

… and

regulate one’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors in different situations

… and

develop, plan and organize self-behavior

Adaptability/ Flexibility

Recognize emotional response to ideas that differ from one’s own

… and

regulate reactions to differing perspectives

… and

look for and value in different perspectives expressed by others

… and

demonstrate ways to adapt and reach workable solutions

Perseverance/ Resilience

Resist distractions, maintain attention, and continue the task at hand through frustration or challenges

… and

set goals and develop strategies to remain focused on learning goals

… and

focus on learning goals by employing motivation and familiar strategies for engagement and evaluate progress, making necessary changes to stay the course

… and

work effectively in a climate of ambiguity and changing priorities

Entrepreneurial Skills[3]


A Colorado graduate demonstrates entrepreneurial skills through critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity and innovation, inquiry and analysis, and risk-taking. A student with these skills can:

 

Novice

Advanced Beginner

Strategic Learner

Emerging Expert

Critical Thinking/ Problem Solving

Recognize that problems can be identified and possible solutions can be generated

… and

define the problem using a variety of strategies

… and

make connections between information gathered and personal experiences to apply and/or test solutions

… and

“interpret information and draw conclusions based upon information gathered to formulate a new problem.”[4]

Creativity/

Innovation

Demonstrate curiosity, imagination and eagerness to learn more

… and

build on personal experience to specify a challenging problem to investigate

… and

engage in novel approaches, moves, directions, ideas and/or perspectives

… and

synthesize ideas in original and surprising ways

Inquiry/ Analysis

Recognize and describe cause-and-effect relationships and patterns in everyday experiences

… and

investigate to form hypotheses, make observations and draw conclusions

… and

test hypotheses/prototype with planned process for getting feedback

… and

make predictions and design data/information collection and analysis strategies

Informed Risk Taking

Demonstrate a willingness to try new things

… and

demonstrate flexibility, imagination and inventiveness in taking on tasks and activities

… and

innovate from failure, connect learning across domains and recognize new opportunities

… and

act on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contribution


Civic/Interpersonal Skills[5]

A Colorado graduate demonstrates civic/interpersonal skills through collaboration and teamwork, strong communication skills, global and cultural awareness, civic engagement and strong character. A student with these skills can:

 

Novice

Advanced Beginner

Strategic Learner

Emerging Expert

Collaboration/ Teamwork

Recognize how personal actions have had a positive or negative impact on others with feedback as needed

… and

recognize how members of a community rely on each other, considering personal contributions as applicable

… and

“follow a process identified by others to help generate ideas, negotiate roles and responsibilities, and respects consensus in decision making”[6]

… and

use interpersonal skills to learn and work with individuals from diverse backgrounds

Communication

(using information and communications technologies)

Articulate personal strengths and challenges using different forms of communication to express oneself

… and

consider purpose, formality of context and audience, and distinct cultural norms when planning content, mode, delivery and expression

… and

“establish goals for communication and plan out steps accordingly”[7]

… and

articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts (including multi-lingual)

Global/

Cultural Awareness

Compare attitudes and beliefs as an individual to others

… and

identify and explain multiple perspectives (cultural, global) when exploring events, ideas and issues

… and

plan and evaluate complex solutions to global challenges that are appropriate to their contexts using multiple disciplinary perspectives (such as cultural, historical and scientific)

… and

apply knowledge and skills to implement sophisticated, appropriate and workable solutions to address complex global problems using interdisciplinary perspectives independently or with others

Civic Engagement

Identify and reflect upon personal connections to community systems

… and

connect knowledge (facts, theories, etc.) from personal ideas and understandings to civic engagement

… and

participate in social or community activities

… and

“participate effectively in civic life”[8]

Character

Demonstrate an understanding of cause and effect related to personal decisions

… and

state a position and reflect on possible objections to, assumptions and implications of the position

… and

apply ethical perspectives/ concepts to an ethical question/ situation/ scenario

… and

“apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues in many context including the access and use of information”[9]


Professional Skills[10]

A Colorado graduate demonstrates professional skills through task and time management, career awareness, information literacy, productivity and accountability, self-advocacy and leadership. A student with these skills can:

 

Novice

Advanced Beginner

Strategic Learner

Emerging Expert

Task/ Time Management

Articulate task requirements and identify deadlines

… and

develop and utilize basic task and time-management strategies effectively

… and

demonstrate task-management attributes associated with producing high-quality products including the abilities to:

  • Work positively and ethically
  • Manage time and projects effectively
  • Multi-task
  • Clearly communicating with others

… and

set personal goals and take responsibility for those goals through reflection upon prior outcomes

Career

Awareness

Ask questions and learn more about careers and other life pursuits

… and

connect careers and other life pursuits to personal interest

… and

“pursue a path of inquiry initiated by personal connections to careers and other life pursuits”[11]

… and

demonstrate knowledge, understanding and personal awareness of how one’s dreams and interests translate into career fulfillment and career pathways available in local, regional, national and global arenas

Information Literacy

Articulate the most effective options to access information needed for a specific purpose

… and

identify and evaluate key attributes of a variety of information sources (e.g., books, newspapers, online or print articles, social media) for validity

… and

“examine how individuals interpret messages differently, how values and points of view are included or excluded, and how media can influence beliefs and behaviors”[12]

… and

“analyze both how and why media messages are constructed and for what purposes,”[13] and use information accurately, ethically and creatively for the issue or problem at hand

Use Information and Communications Technologies

Find information through the use of technologies

… and

communicate information through the use of technologies

… and

evaluate information through the use of technologies

… and

create information through the use of technologies

Self-Advocacy

Appropriately express a range of emotions to communicate personal ideas/needs

… and

ask questions to develop further personal understanding

… and

demonstrate confidence in sharing ideas/feelings

… and

demonstrate an accurate and clear sense of goals, abilities, needs and know how to request and/or acquire them

Leadership

Model positive behaviors for others

… and

demonstrate leadership skills (e.g., organizing others, taking initiative, team-building)

… and

demonstrate confidence while recognizing that personal actions impact others

…and

educate and inspire others to realize their potential


Footnotes

[1] Department of Higher Education; Department of Education; Department of Labor and Employment; Office of Economic Development and International Trade; Office of State Planning and Budgeting; State Demography Office at the Department of Local Affairs.

[2] The Personal Skills chart draws heavily from The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009) and Maine Department of Education (n.d.).

[3] The Entrepreneurial Skills chart draws heavily from The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009) and Maine Department of Education (n.d.).

[4] The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009). P21 framework definitions. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/P21_Framework_Definitions_New_Logo_2015.pdf

[5] The Civic/Interpersonal Skills chart draws heavily from The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009) and Maine Department of Education (n.d.).

[6] Maine Department of Education (n.d.). Understanding Maine’s Guiding Principles report, p.22.

[7] Ibid, p. 3

[8] The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009). P21 framework definitions. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/P21_Framework_Definitions_New_Logo_2015.pdf

[9] ibid p. 2

[10] The Professional Skills chart draws heavily from The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009) and Maine Department of Education (n.d.).

[11] Maine Department of Education (n.d.). Understanding Maine’s Guiding Principles report, p.26.

[12] The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009). P21 framework definitions, p.5. Retrieved from

http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/P21_Framework_Definitions_New_Logo_2015.pdf

[13] ibid p. 5


References

Association of American Colleges and Universities (2010). Civic Engagement VALUE Rubric. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/civic-engagement-value-rubric

Association of American Colleges and Universities (2010). Oral Communication VALUE Rubric. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/value/rubrics/oral-communication

Association of American Colleges and Universities (2010). Written Communication VALUE Rubric. Retrieved from http://www.aacu.org/value/rubrics/WrittenCommunication.cfm

Association of American Colleges and Universities (n.d.). Problem Solving VALUE Rubric. Retrieved from http://www.aacu.org/value/rubrics/problem-solving

Colorado Department of Education (2016). ICAP Quality Indicators. Retrieved from https://www.cde.state.co.us/postsecondary/hsqualityindicatorsandelements

Colorado Department of Education (n.d.). Early Learning Development Guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.cde.state.co.us/sites/default/files/Early%20Learning%20Guidelines.pdf

Colorado Department of Education (n.d.). State Model Evaluation System for Teachers. Retrieved from http://www.cde.state.co.us/educatoreffectiveness/smes-teacher#teacherrubric

Colorado Workforce Development Council (2016). Colorado Talent Pipeline Report. Retrieved from https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cwdc/colorado-talent-pipeline-report

Dreyfus, S. E. & Dreyfus, H. L. (1980). A five-stage model of the mental activities involved in directed skill acquisition (No. ORC-80-2). Berkeley, CA: University of California Operations Research Center.

EnGauge (2010). EnGauge 21st Century Skills. Retrieved from http://pict.sdsu.edu/engauge21st.pdf

Maine Department of Education (n.d.). Understanding Maine’s Guiding Principles report.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (2015). Core competencies document. Retrieved from http://www.casel.org/core-competencies/

The College Board (2014). P21 report for Arts Education. New York, NY: Retrieved from http://www.nationalartsstandards.org/sites/default/files/College%20Board%20Research-%20%20P21%20Report.pdf

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009). P21 framework definitions. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/P21_Framework_Definitions_New_Logo_2015.pdf

Wiggins, G (2009). Creativity Rubric. Retrieved from https://grantwiggins.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/creative.pdf

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