ATC21S has created a series of white papers that explore
the meaning of 21st century skills and the importance of classroom assessment.

White Papers

The Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills project (ATC21S) was conducted by the University of Melbourne and funded by Cisco; Intel; Microsoft; and the founder countries Australia, Finland, Singapore, and the USA. The white papers were commissioned for the project in 2010 and were written by academics world-renowned in their fields.  These white papers have formed the basis for subsequent work on the ATC21S project.  The ATC21S white paper topics are 21st Century Skills; Methodological Issues; Technological Issues; New Assessments and Environments for Knowledge Building; and Policy Frameworks for New Assessments.

An edited, peer reviewed volume of these five white papers has been published in both hard copy and electronic form by Springer Science+Business Media and may be obtained through this Springer webpage.

In addition to the white papers, the ATC21S team has produced two further conceptual framework papers on the topics of Assessment of Learning in Digital Social Networks, and a Framework for Teachable Collaborative Problem Solving Skills. These two papers will be included as chapters in an upcoming volume, “Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills, Volume 2: Methods and Approaches,” to be published in 2014 by Springer Science+Business Media.


White papers

Conceptual framework papers

21st-Century Skills


This paper outlines high-priority 21st-century skills, with examples of how they apply to real-world situations. It also delves into examples of assessment tasks and scoring rubrics that would provide evidence of students’ levels of mastery.


  • Marilyn Binkley
  • Ola Erstad, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Joan Herman, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  • Senta Raizen, WestEd, USA, Leader
  • Martin Ripley, formerly Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, England
  • Mike Rumble

Available from Springer Science+Business Media here.

Methodological Issues


This paper identifies and addresses problems inherent in assessing 21st-century skills, both in tests and in the classroom, focusing particularly on computer-enabled and large-scale assessment.


  • Mark Wilson, University of California, Berkeley, USA, Leader
  • Isaac Bejar, Educational Testing Service, USA
  • Kathleen Scalise, University of Oregon, USA
  • Jonathan Templin, University of Georgia, USA
  • Dylan Wiliam, Institute of Education, London, UK
  • David Torres Irribarra, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Available from Springer Science+Business Media here.

Technological Issues


This paper identifies and analyzes various technological problems in computer-based assessment of 21st-century skills, with suggested solutions.


  • Benő Csapó, University of Szeged, Hungary, Leader
  • John Ainley, Australian Council for Educational Research, Australia
  • Randy Bennett, Educational Testing Service, USA
  • Thibaud Latour, Centre de Recherche Public Henri Tudor, Luxembourg
  • Nancy Law, University of Hong Kong, China

Available from Springer Science+Business Media here.

New Assessments and Environments for Knowledge Building


This paper looks at innovative ways to improve the development of 21st-century skills in students both individually and in groups, considering both formal and informal learning opportunities.


  • Marlene Scardamalia, University of Toronto, Canada, Co-Leader
  • John Bransford, University of Washington, USA, Co-Leader
  • Bob Kozma
  • Edys Quellmalz, WestEd, USA

Available from Springer Science+Business Media here.

Policy Frameworks for New Assessments


The ultimate goal of the project is to move from small marginal pilot projects to implementing new forms of assessment within a coherent teaching and learning system. This paper focuses on the reform needed in school and government systems to achieve this shift.


  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University, USA

Available from Springer Science+Business Media here.

Assessment of Learning in Digital Social Networks


This paper summarizes work done on the ATC21S assessments for ICT Literacy, including a description of the data collected and discussion on how these assessment outcomes can be reported.


  • Mark Wilson, University of California Berkeley, USA
  • Kathleen Scalise, University of Oregon, USA

You can download the Assessment of Learning in Digital Social Networks conceptual framework paper by clicking here.

A Framework for Teachable Collaborative Problem Solving Skills


This paper includes an overview of collaborative problem solving, its processes, its related skills, and how these might be assessed.


  • Friedrich Hesse, Tübingen University, Germany
  • Esther Care, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Juergen Buder, Tübingen University, Germany
  • Kai Sassenberg, Tübingen University, Germany
  • Patrick Griffin, University of Melbourne, Australia

You can download the Framework for Teachable Collaborative Problem Solving Skills conceptual framework paper by clicking here.

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