The Measuring What Matters (MWM) project was a multi-year initiative to build consensus and alignment around broader goals and indicators of success for public education. Our findings from MWM were central in informing our current work on The New Basics.
From Measuring What Matters to
The New Basics
About Measuring What Matters
People for Education launched the Measuring What Matters (MWM) project in 2013. MWM was a multi-year initiative to build consensus and alignment around broader goals and indicators of success for public education.
To accomplish the project goal, People for Education engaged partners from universities, foundations, and government, as well as education stakeholders from across Canada. An expert Advisory Committee and three smaller working groups in key areas also made critical contributions to the project. The MWM model, including a set of core competencies and conditions and assessment models, was field tested by educators in schools and classrooms across Ontario.
Measuring What Matters: The goal
The goal of the Measuring What Matters initiative was to collectively develop, test and propose a new model for education that:
- includes a concrete set of competencies and learning conditions in the areas of creativity and innovation, citizenship, mental and physical health, and social-emotional learning;
- proposes assessment / measurement strategies that focus on, and support these broad competencies;
- supports effective classroom and school practices in foundational areas proven to develop students’ capacity for long-term success; and
- ultimately, informs a productive and useful way to provide parents and the broad public with understandable information about student and system progress in broad areas of learning.
Phase 1: Defining the domains
In phase 1 of Measuring What Matters (2013-14), People for Education conducted a public consultation and a review of the research on broad areas of learning.
Five key domain areas were identified: citizenship, creativity, health, social-emotional learning, and quality learning environments.
Phase 2: Engaging the experts
Education experts were recruited to write papers articulating each of the key domain areas, their importance in terms of student success, and some potential ways that they could be assessed.
Dr. Alan Sears on citizenship
Dr. Rena Upitis on creativity
Dr. Bruce Ferguson on health
Dr. Stuart Shanker on social-emotional learning
Dr. Nina Bascia on quality learning environments
The domain leads used their work to identify specific competencies in citizenship, creativity, health, and social-emotional learning, and the specific conditions in quality learning environments.
Phase 3: Testing and sharing the ideas
Educators field tested the competencies in their classrooms and schools and used the competencies to frame learning and assessment. The field trials taught us a lot about assessment and measurement, the importance of consistent, specific language, and the value of these domains in education.
Watch this short video to learn how elementary teacher Kim Stolys supported creativity competencies in her classroom.
We engaged in consultations throughout the MWM project. Feedback and recommendations
that came out of the consultations led to new ideas, identified some challenging issues, and helped to move the project forward. We summed up our learning in five insights:
We used previous Canadian research and parent feedback to transform over 100 competencies from Measuring what Matters into the five New Basics. Researchers agree that young people are going to need a wide range of skills to succeed in today’s rapidly changing world – beyond just reading, writing, and arithmetic. And if we want our kids to succeed, we need to start thinking about a new set of basics:
- Learning to learn
- Thinking creatively and critically
- Communicating effectively
- Developing a sense of self and society
Read more about The New Basics here.
Measuring What Matters publications
- Dr. Alan Sears on citizenship
- Dr. Rena Upitis on creativity
- Dr. Bruce Ferguson on health
- Dr. Stuart Shanker on social-emotional learning
- Dr. Nina Bascia on quality learning environments
- Dr. Michelle Boucher on French-language identity building, community, and cultural vitality
- Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse on an Indigenous approach to quality learning environments and relevant competencies/skills