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Course Assessment for Skill Transfer

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The Course Assessment for Skill Transfer (CAST) framework is a conceptual tool for course designers, instructors or external evaluators to create and implement a custom 21st century skills assessment for existing or in-development courses.

Ultimately, using CAST to assess a course in one or more of these four concept areas (Identify Skills, Review Course, Assess Outcomes, Check for Transfer), can empower instructors and course designers to strengthen the claims they can make about skills students gain from their course, in a broader effort to connect students and workers with reliable upskilling/reskilling learning opportunities.

Intended Use

CAST is intended to provoke reflection and provide flexible guidelines for generating a course-specific action plan to review skills. It is not intended to be prescriptive or reductive. CAST can be implemented to fit the capacity and goals of the users.

Example 1: course instructors seeking a holistic understanding of the skills their students learn and carry beyond the course may choose to invest resources into carrying out all four component parts of CAST.

Example 2: course designers launching a new course may choose to implement only the Identify Skills part as an exercise to reach internal consensus of the skills intended to be taught.

Individuals or teams can use CAST in a variety of ways, including to identify the skills intended (Identify Skills) to be taught in a course, to review the extent to which identified skills appear in the course (Review Course), to assess skills-based learning outcomes (Assess Outcomes), and to track the transfer of skills into subsequent courses or the workforce (Check for Transfer).

Identify skills

Identify the skills intended to be taught or practiced in the course.

Learn about identifying skills

Review Course

Review the extent to which identified skills occur in the course.

Learn about reviewing courses

Assess Outcomes

Assess the extent to which students acquire identified skills.

Learn about assessing outcomes

Check for Transfer

Verify the identified skills have been transferred beyond the course.

Learn about checking for transfer

About the CAST Framework

The CAST Framework arose from a larger collaborative project (Convergence Accelerator Phase 1 RAISE: Analytics-Driven Accessible Pathways To Impacts-Validated Education (ADAPTIVE); NSF 1936656) intended to address the upskilling and reskilling needed to support workforce development, considering major shifts in the job landscape as technology advances. The ADAPTIVE project sought to develop a career recommender ‘GPS’ platform (using thousands of course and credential offerings and real-time labor market data) to help US workers decide which skills they may need to obtain their professional goals, as well as which learning opportunities are suited to help workers gain needed skills.

The CAST Framework addresses a specific piece of the platform development- which learning opportunities (e.g. online/in person courses, certifications, etc) are suited to help workers gain needed skills. The CAST Framework addresses the need for a tool to clarify (for both learners and instructors) what skills are taught/reinforced in the course that can then be applied to the professional setting. Clarifying and confirming which courses support transfer of which skills can help the learner make an informed decision where to invest their time and resources for up- or reskilling. This can also support instructors in refining learner expectations with learning outcomes.

NSF logo

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under award no 1936656. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF

Project Partners

  • Indiana University
  • Arizona State University