Report on the presentation at the Japan Association for Research on Testing (JART) 8th annual meeting:
"The Framework of problem-solving abilities as the required skills for the 21st century and international assessment"

 CRET has been engaged in continuous research and development of the abilities and competences required in the 21st century. The research outcome was presented at the JART 8th annual meeting entitled "Measurement of Skills", in one of which planning sessions we discuss the theme of "Assessment and learning of problem solving." Approximately 70 researchers and professionals in the education field attended the session. The following is a report on the presentation made, focusing on the formulation process*1 of DeSeCo*2 key competencies.

 With the advance of technology and globalization, routine work is rapidly being replaced by computers. As a result, more sophisticated competency is required in areas of work where people are engaged, such as the abilities to use a flexible sense of judgment depending on the circumstances. Discussion over such changes in required competency started from the 1980s in the international community.

 OECD established three key competencies*3 identified as appropriate competencies in various areas such as economy, politics, society, family and individuals. They are used as the underlying principle applied to OECD international surveys such as PISA.

 DeSeCo projects were promoted by Dr. Heinz Gilomen from SFSO*4, Switzerland; Dr. Eugene Owen from NCES*5, U.S.A.; Dr. Barry McGaw and Dr. Andreas Schleicher from OECD; and Dr. Scott Murray from Statistics Canada who joined the team in the year 2000. In the first half of the period since the inception of the projects, reviews of existing OECD reports were made and expert opinions from multidisciplinary fields involving educators, economists and psychologists were collected. In October 1999, the outcome of the review was presented at the 1st DeSeCo International Conference held in Neuchatel, Switzerland. From the year 2000, opinions from OECD member states were invited. 12 members*6 have submitted their reports and they were reported at the 2nd DeSeCo International Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, followed by the final report compiled in the year 2002. There are 4 official reports*7 presented by DeSeCo projects.

 Pursuant to the presentation on key competencies by DeSeCo, EU, U.S.A., Japan and other countries have proposed their respective framework of key competencies. We plan to examine the methods of assessment and development of key competencies by accurately defining them as the abilities*8 to draw relevant knowledge and skills depending on circumstances, by transcending frameworks of specific expertise and discipline.

*1 source : DeSeCo Background paper , Revised (2001)
*3 Using Tools Interactively, Interacting in Heterogeneous Groups, Acting Autonomously
*4 Swiss Federal Statistical Office
*5 National Center for Education Statistics
*6 Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, NewZealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US
*7 Projects on Competencies in the OECD Context: Analysis of Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations (1999), Comments on the DeSeCo Expert Opinions (1999), Definition and Selection of Key Competencies (2000), Defining and Selecting Key Competencies (2001)

(Chie Hoshi, CRET Researcher)



Chie Hoshi

CRET Researcher


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Areas of Reasearch in CRET

This laboratory conducts research on test evaluation and analysis. We also perform joint research and exchange programs with overseas testing research institutes.

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This laboratory conducts research and development into testing approaches that measure communication skills, teamwork skills, and social skills, etc.

Dr. Atsushi Aikawa

Faculty of Human Sciences,
University of Tsukuba
Ph.D. in Psychology

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This laboratory conducts research on the foundation of computer-based testing, and basic research on media and recognition, as well as applied and practical research
that utilize such knowledge.

Dr. Kanji Akahori

Professor Emeritus of
Tokyo Institute of

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