Assessment of Cross-curricular Key Competencies: Challenges and Strategies for Senior High School Leaders and Teachers in New Zealand
Since the proposal of key competencies from the Definition and Selection of Competencies project by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), many countries have revised their national curricula to focus more directly on cross-curricular key competencies (OECD, 2018a). New Zealand identified five key competencies in the national curriculum, but they have been slow to take root, particularly in senior high school (Wolking, 2018). Due to the washback effect of high-stakes national testing, the National Certificate of Educational Achievement qualifications, most senior high schools’ assessments have focused largely on subject-specific knowledge and skills (Education Review Office, 2018a; Wolking, 2018). The purpose of this thesis is to explore a way to integrate cross-curricular key competencies into classroom assessment practices in senior high school to promote students’ learning. I employed a multiple case study, and cases of interest were senior high school leaders and teachers in New Zealand who engage or have engaged in the assessment of cross-curricular key competencies. Utilizing purposive sampling, I recruited 11 participants: three school leaders and eight teachers. Data collection methods included a qualitative survey and semi-structured interviews, both of which were conducted online due to COVID-19 restrictions. I used thematic analysis to identify, analyse, and report patterns within data. I found that support from senior management, collaborative professional development, and stakeholder involvement can help tackle the awareness gap between subjects and a lack of resources and promote school-wide assessments of cross-curricular key competencies in the senior high school.