W.Va. Cited for its Work on 21st Century Learning

June 17, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – For the third time in three years the West Virginia Department of Education has been recognized for efforts to improve 21st century teaching and learning. West Virginia is one of seven states to receive the 21st Century Practice of the Year Award for 2009, which commemorates the nation’s preeminent state-led 21st century skills initiatives.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills cited West Virginia for its work to create rich authentic classroom assessments that integrate engaging content and learning skills. The project, “Assessing 21st Century Skills through Relevant and Engaging Content Applications,” designed quality standards-focused project learning units for teachers of English, mathematics, science and social studies that include opportunities to develop and assess 21st century skills.

“As we work to incorporate 21st century skills into rigorous core courses, we must also develop assessment practices that measure what students need to know and do in today’s world,” said state Superintendent Steve Paine. “I am proud of our program and hope it serves as an example to other states as they work to develop their own state tests.”

West Virginia was the second state in the nation to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which has emerged as the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. Each year the partnership recognizes states for their efforts to advance 21st century teaching and learning.

“These states have performed an invaluable service by creating national models to guide other states in establishing 21st century learning policies and practices,” said Paige Johnson, worldwide manager, K-12 education, Intel Corporation and chairman of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. “These awards highlight best practices for states as they build world-class education systems to ensure their students graduate with the knowledge and skills required of effective citizens, workers and leaders.”

Since joining the partnership, West Virginia has worked to add rigor to its educational system and incorporate 21st century skills, including learning and thinking skills; information and communications skills; technology skills; and work place productivity skills. West Virginia’s plan is called “Global 21: Students deserve it. The world demands it.”

“Students must be able to comprehend, problem solve and communicate solutions if they are expected to collaborate globally,” Paine said. “Global21 provides a system-wide approach that will provide our graduates with the intellectual capital to thrive in an interconnected world.”

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Communications Office at (304) 558-2699.

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