Participatory Assessment of 21st Century Proficiencies

  • Daniel T. HickeyEmail author
  • Michelle A. Honeyford
  • Katie A. Clinton
  • Jenna McWilliams


The explosion of new social network technologies has highlighted the awkward relationship between new “Twenty-first century” media practices and existing educational systems. Traditional content standards, achievement tests, and accountability pressures threaten nascent efforts to foster equitable, transparent, and credible participation in these practices. The current push to design external tests and standards to assess these new practices may actually exacerbate this problem, due to the fundamentally social nature of these proficiencies. Large-scale standardization and testing of aggregated achievement of these proficiencies should be done cautiously and in isolation from classroom-based efforts to foster worthwhile participation. Likewise, within classrooms, more interpretive efforts are first needed to define social contexts that foster worthwhile social participation in these practices before individual proficiency is assessed. To foster both participation and proficiency while also meeting existing and future accountability goals, a design-based participatory assessment framework with multiple levels of increasingly formal outcomes is introduced.


Formative assessment Social media Twenty-first century skills 



This work was supported by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative. We thank Jim Gee, Henry Jenkins, Erin Reilly, Anna van Someren, and Hilary Kolos for their contributions to the ideas, research, and curricula described in this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel T. Hickey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michelle A. Honeyford
    • 2
  • Katie A. Clinton
    • 3
  • Jenna McWilliams
    • 1
  1. 1.Learning Sciences ProgramIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Literacy, Culture, & Language EducationIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.New Media Literacies, Annenberg School for Communication & JournalismUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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