Also, before assessment in 21st century skills becomes a state priority, I think a serious inquiry about the school environment is needed. Learn from the creative disciplines, including arts providers, the world of industrial design, journalists, and technology originators like Google about such questions as:
- What kind of environment fosters creativity and innovation?
- What are organizational barriers to creativity?
- How do leaders promote good ideas among their staff members?
- What are some roles in a creative organization?
- What are some outside interactions that ensure good thinking?
What also worries me about a potential rush to state assessments is the possibility of unintended consequences. These "soft skills" cannot be quantified on a per student basis. Creativity and innovative thinking occur because a problem needs solved or something important needs to be said—not for extrinsic motivators.