SkillSense supports development of communication, teamwork, responsibility and other social-emotional skills that are needed to thrive at every stage of life.

Why We Do This

Social-emotional skills – sometimes called “soft skills” or “employability skills” – have become increasingly valued in the 21st century workplace.

Research shows they are as important as academic learning to lifelong success and wellbeing.

Until now, there has been little agreement on how to teach, assess and document these skills. SkillSense bridges that gap and supports this lifelong journey by establishing common definitions, language and tools for improvement to be used by individuals, educators and employers.

 

How We Do It

Drawing on input by K-12 districts, educational agencies, higher-education institutions, and employers in West Michigan, SkillSense has identified an array of skills that are essential to success in school and career.

The collaborative process of SkillSense addresses the longstanding challenge of defining and measuring skills such as responsibility, decisiveness and teamwork.

This work is supported by a variety of research demonstrating the importance of social-emotional learning.

In addition, it shows promising alignment with ongoing international research by OECD – the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD research is based on the “big five” domains of Task Performance, Emotional Regulation, Collaboration, Open-Mindedness and Engaging with Others. The OECD research adds credibility to and will continue to inform the SkillSense model.

What We Do: The Skills in SkillSense

The “big five” domains being studied by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development have multiple parallels to the 12 skills identified by collaborators in West Michigan:

Learning to listen, speak, read, and write effectively is an essential task, especially early in life. As a result, the skill of communication is emphasized across time, but is especially highlighted in grades K-3.

DEFINITION

Demonstrating appropriate levels of participation.

DEFINITION

Thinking about one’s actions and demonstrating empathy for others.

DEFINITION

Being pleasant, cooperative, sensitive to others, and easy to get along with and having a preference for associating with others.

DEFINITION

Setting goals, trying to succeed at those goals, and striving to be competent in their own work.

DEFINITION

Being dependable, committed to doing the job correctly and carefully, and being trustworthy, accountable and attentive to details.

DEFINITION

Critical thinking, problem solving, judgement, and decision making.

DEFINITION

Attendance and punctuality, being attentive to project milestones and deadlines, and scheduling with others.

DEFINITION

Effective use of technology and the maturity and self-control to limit technology distractions.

DEFINITION

Showing leadership and independence, developing one’s own way of doing things, and guiding and depending on oneself.

DEFINITION

Maturity, poise, flexibility, and restraint to cope with pressure, stress, criticism, setbacks, etc.

DEFINITION

The ability to generate new ideas, processes, products, etc. that have value both to oneself and a wider audience.

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