21st Century Skills Assessment

ISTE Standards-S data to inform instruction

Learning.com's 21st Century Skills Assessment provides deeper insight into your students' grasp of critical 21st century skills. Learn more about your students' creativity, innovation, information fluency, critical thinking, decision making and digital citizenship. Prepare your students for their lives in our technology-based society.

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Performance- and Knowledge-based items

The 21st Century Skills Assessment uses a psychometrically validated blend of interactive, performance-based questions that allow students to authentically perform complex tasks in simulated applications, and multiple choice, knowledge-based questions.

Project-based assessment

An optional portfolio assessment gives teachers rubrics to assess student projects for skills like creativity and innovation, giving them a vehicle to understand students' skills in areas that multiple-choice and performance-based test questions cannot reach.

Reports that inform instruction

All 21st Century Skills Assessment reports provide proficiency data across four levels (Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, Advanced) not only for overall proficiency, but also for each of the ISTE Standards-S strands, and for each standard measured by the project.

“It’s allowing us to measure the effectiveness of the program for the students. As teachers use the program more often, we’ll be able to see how students who’ve used the program have progressed.”

Jolynn Sapia,

Director of Technology, Half Hollow Hills School District

Addresses ISTE Standards-S refreshed standards

Our assessment is aligned to all 24 standards in these six strands:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts

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Addresses ISTE Standards-S

21st Century Skills Assessment is aligned to all 24 standards in these six strands:

1. Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:

  • apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
  • create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
  • use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
  • identify trends and forecast possibilities.

2. Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:

  • interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
  • communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
  • develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
  • contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

3. Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:

  • plan strategies to guide inquiry.
  • locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
  • evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
  • process data and report results.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

  • identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
  • plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  • collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  • use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

5. Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:

  • advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
  • exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
  • demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
  • exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts

Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:

  • understand and use technology systems.
  • select and use applications effectively and productively.
  • troubleshoot systems and applications.
  • transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.

Questions assess a student's 21st century skills

21st Century Skills Assessment tests offer two types of questions:

Performance-based questions

Students authentically demonstrate that they can navigate within spreadsheet, word processor, database, browser, and presentation applications, and perform complex tasks.

The simulated software has realistic menus and functionality and is deliberately generic, not representing any specific software brand or version. This generic representation enables the assessment to measure durable technology literacy skills that students need as they encounter different software at school, home, libraries, online, and in the future.

Multiple choice questions

Multiple choice and rote, memory-based sequence questions would not assess the students' ability to perform a software task, and the correct answer would typically only be true of one brand and specific version of the software.


21st century skills tests for elementary school and middle school

The assessment measures 21st century skills by assessing student abilities defined by each of the 24 ISTE performance indicators, with an average of 3 questions measuring each indicator. All questions assessing a single performance indicator assess different aspects of the same indicator.

Experience sample assessment test questions

These 8-item sample tests gives you an idea of how 21st Century Skills Assessment uses a psychometrically validated blend of interactive, performance-based questions that allow students to authentically perform complex tasks in simulated applications, and knowledge-based, multiple choice questions. Actual 21st Century Skills Assessment tests are longer in length.

  • Sample Elementary School assessment questions
  • Sample Middle School assessment questions

Portfolio Assessment – simple to implement, easy to grade project testing

21st Century Skills Assessment provides an optional portfolio assessment which includes all the components for students to complete one project with the pretest and one project with the posttest. These projects enable proficiency reporting for each standard measured by the project's grading rubrics. Projects are replaced by new projects each year.

Learning.com provides secure hosting, automatic virus checking, and an integrated, project-specific grading rubric that streamlines grading workflow.

Simplicity – student view

Students can read the project instructions, view or download needed resources, read grade appropriate rubrics of how they will be graded, enter comments, upload files, save, and when they are ready, submit their project for grading.

  • Part 1: Create a ...
  • Part 2: Write a Reflection
  • Download needed project files

Easy to grade – proctor view

Proctors can grade and review projects, and easily reset them if a student submits the project before it is complete. The rubric is project-specific. These integrated rubrics have been created to enable teachers to objectively grade projects, and to greatly simplify grading.

  • Grading first step: download project files
  • Easy grading rubrics

Formative assessment – the student view of the graded project

After a student's project has been graded, they can log back in to see the results for each rubric, and read the formative comments from the grader.

  • Results of each rubric
  • Grader comments

Portfolios provide an extra level of reporting detail

Customers who choose the optional portfolio assessment receive an additional section with greater detail on their 21st Century Skills Assessment reports. Here are examples from the class detail report.

  • The Portfolio Skill Module Summary
  • The Portfolio Skill Module Detail


Note: To protect the integrity of the assessment, the project instructions and grading rubrics shown here are intended only to give an idea of what a project is like, not to show an actual project. Text has been removed that could compromise the assessment.

Reports show multiple levels of proficiency for each NETS-S strand

All 21st Century Skills Assessment reports provide proficiency data across four levels (Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, Advanced) not only for overall proficiency, but also for each of the ISTE Standards-S strands, and for each standard measured by the project. In addition, the raw report provides item details at the level of each of the 24 ISTE Standards-S standards, for each student.

21st Century Skills Assessment reports include:

  • Individual Student Report – shows student proficiency across four levels overall (below basic, basic, proficient, advanced), and for each of the six ISTE Standards-S strands.

  • Class Detail Report – shows the proficiency data for the class and shows each individual student at a glance.

  • Teacher Report – shows the proficiency data at the summary level for all the periods that a teacher teaches, providing greater reporting efficiency at the school level.

  • School Report by Class – shows the proficiency data at the summary level for all the classes in a school.

  • School Report by Teacher – shows the proficiency data at the summary level across the school by teacher. This report can be used to help schools, districts, and states to determine which teachers have been the most successful teaching each strand of the ISTE Standards-S, providing the opportunity to discover best practices that can be shared.

  • District Report – shows proficiency data for all the schools in a district.

  • Raw Report – provided in the form of a spreadsheet with each row indicating a student, and columns that indicate school, class, proficiency data, and an item analysis by ISTE Standards-S standard.

  • State Reporting – state DOE customers are provided with reports statewide after testing has completed.

21st Century Skills Assessment reporting modules address the six ISTE
ISTE Standards-S strands:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts

Student report of 21st century skills for each ISTE Standards-S strand

The student report from 21st Century Skills Assessment shows:

  • Student proficiency across four levels overall (below basic, basic, proficient, advanced), and for each of the six ISTE Standards-S strands.
  • Student proficiency across four levels for each standard graded as part of the optional portfolio project.
  • Any notes written to the student by the project grader.
  • Comparative class, school, district and national data.

Student Report

Class report of 21st century skills for each ISTE Standards-S strand

21st Century Skills Assessment provides two class reports, a summary and a detail. The detail report shown below shows all data; the summary excludes the listings of individual students. Class reports enable teachers to see gaps in standards proficiency and instructional needs at a granular level within their class.

The Class Exam Summary shows the overall proficiency of the class for the exam part of the assessment. These results are shown in comparison to school, district, and national results. This section also shows how many students are at each of the four levels of proficiency. This part of the report appears on both the detail and the summary.

Class Exam Summary



The Individual Student Exam Scores shows the overall proficiency of each student in the class. This section does not appear in the summary report.

Individual Student Exam Scores



The Class Skill Modules Summary shows the proficiency of the class for each of the six strands or categories of the ISTE Standards-S. These results are shown in comparison to school, district, and national results. This section also shows how many students are at each of the four levels of proficiency for each strand. This part of the report can be used to determine which strands require instructional time for the entire class, and which strands could be covered in smaller groups.

Class Skill Modules Summary



The Class Skill Modules Detail is repeated for each of the ISTE Standards-S strands or categories and shows the proficiency of the class for each. These results are shown in comparison to school, district, and national results. This section shows how many students are at each of the four levels of proficiency and shows individual student proficiency levels. The summary version of the report does not include the individual student listings.

Class Skill Modules Detail



The Portfolio Skill Module Summary shows the proficiency levels of the class for each ISTE Standards-S standard assessed by the portfolio. These results are shown in comparison to school, district, and national results. This part of the report appears on both the detail and the summary.

Portfolio Skill Module



The Portfolio Skill Module Detail repeats for each standard measured by the portfolio showing the proficiency levels of each member of the class. The summary version of the report does not include these individual student listings.

Portfolio Skill Module

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