This paper will discuss a map of generic constructs developed from a study of various conceptions of generic skills such as the studies of cross-curricular competencies by the OECD, the 'capabilities' of the Victorian Student Profile and the Mayer Key Competencies. The paper will discuss the value of promoting these kinds of skills at senior secondary school level and the need to provide 'doable' and reliable assessment and reporting strategies. Concern about formally assessing less cognitive 'personal' skills has at times been put forward as a reason for not giving prominence to these areas. A project which explored school-based assessment and reporting of the Mayer Key Competencies will be outlined. In 1996, a trial was undertaken in ten secondary schools across four states of Australia, focusing on Year 11. The project was based on two important assumptions: that teachers can make global judgements of their students' performance on conceptions such as the Key Competencies without setting special tasks, and that teachers' assessments of these competencies are general rather than subject specific. Significant findings were that teachers could make judgements on the basis of their knowledge of students without undertaking new or different tasks; levels of agreement between teachers were higher than expected and ranged well over an 8- point scale; teachers found the task easier than they had expected. It will be suggested that the approach followed in the 1996 trial will serve as a useful model for assessing the kinds of generic skills recommended - in particular those of a less cognitive, 'personal' nature.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jennifer_bryce/28/