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Essential Skills & Dispositions

How do we integrate essential skills and dispositions into teaching and learning across the disciplines?


There is growing consensus that preparing students to succeed requires teaching not just content knowledge, but also cross-curricular skills and dispositions that enable learners to take responsibility for their own lives, their own learning, and operate successfully within a greater social context. But, our understanding about how to operationalize skills and dispositions - as opposed to traditional academics - is comparatively underdeveloped:


  • Teachers need clear definitions of skills and dispositions, an evidence-based model  showing how they develop, and tools to integrate them into instruction and assessment, and

  • Policymakers need a clearer understanding of how (or if) skills and dispositions are teachable, learnable, and identifiable as competencies that fit into assessment and accountability systems.


CIE engaged the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) and other partners to work with teacher leaders from across the country to create a set of developmental frameworks for four essential skills and dispositions: Creativity, Communications, Collaboration, and Self-Direction. The frameworks should inform how students instructional and assessment experiences can help them understand, practice and demonstrate the skills in a variety of contexts. The developmental frameworks are not tied to grade levels so that they are truer to what we know about learning dynamics and appropriate for embedding within competency-based systems.


With design support from 2revolutions, CIE has launched a three-tiered partner network to explore answers to key questions:


  1. Facilitated design and implementation with select districts and schools;

  2. “Friends with Frameworks” across the country who are using and adapting the frameworks; and,

  3. Insights from Peers who are doing work that can inform our learning agenda.


Click here to view the frameworks.

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