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Introducing the key competencies tool

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Sue McDowall from NZCER provides the background to the key competencies tool project. To find out more, visit Key competencies and effective pedagogy.


The key competencies indicators project involved exploring the integration of the key competencies and learning areas. This project was carried out by NZCER and Waikato University for the Ministry. It was a response to the finding from some earlier research (which was Hipkins led) that showed us teachers were unsure about how to go about integrating key competencies in learning areas – even those teachers who were early adopters of the key competencies.

It was also a response to findings in the research literature, or discussions I should say, in the future oriented research literature about the importance of thinking about knowledge and capabilities together. So we were interested in questions such as, "What does it look like when you’re thinking as a scientist? How might that be similar or different from thinking as a literary critic or participating and contributing as a mathematician? How might that look different from participating and contributing as a historian?”

The project involved working closely with teachers, researchers, and teachers are working closely together. We came up with some examples of practice in classrooms at different levels from year one through to year thirteen and in different learning areas. 

Published on: 23 Apr 2014