New Assessments and Environments for Knowledge Building

  • Marlene ScardamaliaEmail author
  • John Bransford
  • Bob Kozma
  • Edys Quellmalz


This chapter proposes a framework for integrating two different approaches to twenty-first century skills: “working backward from goals” and “emergence of new competencies.” Working backward from goals has been the mainstay of educational assessment and objectives-based instruction. The other approach is based on the premise that breakthroughs in education to address twenty-first century needs require not only targeting recognized objectives but also enabling the discovery of new objectives—particularly capabilities and challenges that emerge from efforts to engage students in authentic knowledge creation. Accordingly, the focus of this chapter is on what are called “knowledge building environments.” These are environments in which the core work is the production of new knowledge, artifacts, and ideas of value to the community—the same as in mature knowledge-creating organizations. They bring out things students are able to do that are obscured by current learning environments and assessments. At the heart of this chapter is a set of developmental sequences leading from entry-level capabilities to the abilities that characterize members of high-performing knowledge-creating teams. These are based on findings from organization science and the learning sciences, including competencies that have already been demonstrated by students in knowledge-building environments. The same sources have been mined for principles of learning and development relevant to these progressions.


Formative Assessment Knowledge Creation Knowledge Building Knowledge Work Summative Assessment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlene Scardamalia
    • 1
    Email author
  • John Bransford
    • 2
  • Bob Kozma
    • 3
  • Edys Quellmalz
    • 4
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Kozmalone ConsultingSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.WestEdSan FranciscoUSA

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