21st Century Skills

What are 21st century skills?

21st century skills are a set of skills and knowledge that students will need to prepare them for the world in which they will live and work. The problem is that, because the world is changing so fast, no one knows how that world will look or what jobs our students will have. To address this problem, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has created a framework that identifies what it thinks are essential skills to allow students to adapt to new situations:

Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes

Core Subjects:
  • Economics
  • Foreign languages
  • Fine arts
  • Geography
  • Government and civics
  • History
  • Language arts
  • Math
  • Science

21st Century Themes, to be integrated into the core subjects:
  • Civic literacy
  • Financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy
  • Health literacy
  • Global awareness

Learning and Innovation Skills

  • Communication and collaboration
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Critical thinking and problem solving

Information, Media and Technology Skills

  • ICT literacy (information, communication and technology)
  • Information literacy
  • Media literacy

Life and Career Skills

  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Initiative and self-direction
  • Leadership and responsibility
  • Productivity and accountability
  • Social and cross-cultural skills

The enGauge 21st Century Skills

The Metiri Group and NCREL have created an alternate framework for 21st century skills:

Digital Age Literacy

  • Basic, scientific, economic and technological literacy
  • Visual and information literacy
  • Multicultural literacy and global awareness

Inventive Thinking

  • Adaptability, managing, complexity and self-direction
  • Curiosity, creativity and risk-taking
  • Higher-order thinking and sound reasoning

Effective Communication

  • Teaming, collaboration and interpersonal skills
  • Personal, social and civic responsibility
  • Interactive communication

High Productivity

  • Prioritize, plan and manage for results
  • Effective use of real-world tools
  • Relevant, high-quality products


enGauge 21st Century Skills PDF
Gateway to 21st Century Skills teaching community
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills
Thinkfinity resources for educators

The following are from a podcast with Kevin Kay....he runs [http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/|The Partnership for 21st Century Skills]

440 Human resource managers and were asked “What do you need future kids to have?”

Attributes for future hires
80% Work ethic
75% Collaboration
70% Communication
63% Socially Responsible
58% Critical Thinkers and problem solvers

They were then asked…”Of graduates that you hired, what are their deficiencies relative to what you expect?”
81% Written Communication
73% Leadership
70% Work Ethic
70% Problem solving and critical thinking
58% Inadequately self directed

Lastly they were asked “What will be the most important skills needed by graduates in five years?”
78% Critical Thinking
77% Information Technology
76% Knowledge of health and wellness
74% Collaboration
74% Innovation
72% Personal financial responsibility

Learning and Thinking Skills
Critical thinking
Innovation and creation
Solving problems

Tech Skills
Use tech skills to do learning and thinking skills

21st Century Content
Global Awareness
Civic engagement
Health and wellness
Business financial and economic literacy

Life Skills
Work ethic
People skills
Social responsibility
Self directed learners
Personal responsibility

Think and self-directed