Session F: Should generic curriculum capabilities be assessed?

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Hipkins, Rosemary
Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)
NZCER; Key competencies; Capabilities; New Zealand; NZ; Australia; Demonstrations of capability; Assessment decision making; Performance; Subject-based learning; Rich tasks; Curriculum and Instruction; Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
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conference paper description
Both Australia and New Zealand have recently taken up the idea of ‘key competencies’ (‘capabilities’ in the Australian national curriculum) initially proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In both countries we have made them our own by adapting them to suit our own educational contexts. People often say that these capabilities won’t be taken seriously unless they are assessed. So whether, and how, to assess them continue to be vexed questions. In this paper I argue that capabilities are more appropriately seen as changing the curriculum rather than adding to it. If we are serious about preparing students for the future, outcomes for learning need to be re-imagined at the complex intersection of capabilities and traditional content prior to determining any assessment approaches.