Full Question: I write for some guidance in school improvement within our College. Currently there is very little data that I have to gauge student achievement, but my predecessor organised for two classes a cycle (classes are 50-minutes each on a 14-day cycle) coined “academic skills” for Grades 5-12. I have spent the best part of the last 5 weeks trying to ascertain the need but I believe the idea behind it was to ‘build capacity’ of generic skills to enhance the learning journey of our students. No program was left which has left me in quite a pickle to work out: 1) What generic skills they are after? and 2) Is this even going to have an impact on student learning/outcomes? I’m wondering if you may have any ideas on where I might go next or should start?
Answer: “First, I am not a fan of generic skills, 21st Century skills, as they need to be embedded in the content domains. Second, structural solutions are rarely effective. I would ask the teachers to be clear what success means in these types of skills, what evidence they could produce to illustrate growth in these skills, and then only after you have success criteria decide on the mechanisms” (John Hattie, personal communication, March 19.,2019).