21st century skills development and assessment in higher education: a systematic review

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferencePoster

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Recent studies have addressed the importance of developing and assessing 21st century skills in an educational context (e.g. Griffin, 2014; Larson, 2012; Silva, 2009). Nevertheless, it remains difficult to identify, develop and assess these skills in a consistent and valid way. The main purpose of this systematic review is to provide an overview of different methods to develop and assess 21st century skills among students in higher education. Following PRISMA guidelines, five databases, including Web of Science, PubPsych, EBSCOhost, Google Scholar and Scopus, were searched for studies that describe the development and assessment of 21st century skills in higher education. A total of 769 non-duplicate articles were retrieved from the databases. After the title, abstract, full text screening and backward and forward tracking 36 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included for further analysis. The quality of selected articles was critically evaluated, using the quality appraisal scores from Hawker. A content analysis was performed on the included articles. Preliminary results show that teaching methods such as problem or project-based learning become increasingly important in the development of 21st century skills in higher education. A transition is noticed from summative assessment to a more formative type of assessment focusing on improving the students’ skill development and giving them additional feedback. More detailed results of the systematic review will be presented at the symposium. This systematic review contributes to the establishment of a framework to develop and evaluate 21st century skills in higher education and can be used by policy makers and practitioners to improve practice and stimulate further research. The opportunities and barriers that were found in the literature will contribute to evidence-based teaching and learning strategies and in this way to the educational effectiveness of ‘21st century skills’.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2020
Event25th VBSW symposium -
Duration: 11 Dec 202011 Dec 2020


Conference25th VBSW symposium
Internet address


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