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21st-Century Skills

The concept of 21st-century skills is commonly used in education to refer to the shift away from the 20th century’s emphasis on core academic content (e.g., the so-called 3 Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic) toward rigorous skill-based instruction, often embracing new technologies and modes of communication. In 2002, a coalition that included business and education leaders and policy makers formed the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (now the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, or P21) to promote the value of these skills. This entry discusses P21’s framework describing these skills, the reasons why learning these skills is important, and practices that develop the skills.

To provide a practical description of 21st-century skills, P21 developed a framework that outlines four skill sets it sees as essential ...

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