Assessment of Non-Academic Skills

Assessment of Non-Academic Skills

0.50 USBE Credit
Instruction and assessment of non-academic skills is an integral part of personalized learning. Mastery of non-academic skills such as collaboration, communication, leadership, perseverance, problem-solving, creative thinking, social-emotional learning are keys to success in school and life.


To earn this 0.5 USBE Credit microcredential you will submit two evidence items to demonstrate how assessment of nonacademic skills supports personalized learning in your learning environment. You will also submit a reflection. Click the Earn This Microcredential button for more information.


You will be charged $25 by the badge provider. You'll be charged at the point you submit your badge for final review.


This is not your typical assessment, or an assessment of any academic skills. This is an assessment of behavior and culture in your classroom. This is an assessment of student use of 21st century skills or the evidence of growth mindset in your classroom. The evidence you submit will demonstrate your support of student collaboration, communication, leadership, perseverance, problem-solving skills, creative thinking, social-emotional learning and/or motivation.


Personalized Learning : Tailoring instruction for each learner's strengths, needs and interests, including enabling student voice and choice in time, path, pace, and place of learning, to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of standards.

Blended Learning: A formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; and the modalities along each student's learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.

Nonacademic Skills: The social-emotional skills that support how a student learns. Another term used to describe 21st Century Skills (see below).

Growth Mindset:  A concept developed by psychologist Carol Dweck: “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

21st Century Skills: The term 21st century skills refers to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are believed—by educators, school reformers, college professors, employers, and others—to be critically important to success in today’s world, particularly in collegiate programs and contemporary careers and workplaces. Generally speaking, 21st century skills can be applied in all academic subject areas, and in all educational, career, and civic settings throughout a student’s life.” 21st Century Skills include things like critical thinking, creativity, perseverance, and leadership.

Social Emotional Skills : Social-emotional (SE) skills include the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for youth to recognize and control their emotions and behaviors; establish and maintain positive relationships; make responsible decisions and solve challenging situations; and set and achieve positive goals.”

Soft Skills: Interpersonal skills or personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively with others. Soft skills include attitude, communication, creative thinking, work ethic, and motivation.

Interpersonal Skills: Skills relating to relationships or communication between people. Interpersonal skills include leadership, motivation, active listening, team-work, and responsibility.

Grit: Defined as courage or resolve, strength of character. When applied to an educational setting, it refers to a student’s ability to critically think and work through difficult problems.


Students in a biology class are excited and nervous to begin their dissections of a frog and fetal pig specimen. The students are organized into lab groups of four students. Each group is given a frog specimen, a pig specimen and a list of organs to identify in each specimen. As students work together during the dissections, they document each organ found using iPads or smartphones. Once the dissections are complete, students clean up and disinfect their work area and then pick up a computer. Their next task is to create a single collaborative document as a group that compares the organs of the frog and pig specimens. They choose Google or Microsoft documents, presentations or drawings as their platform and add the pictures they took from the dissections. Students then add text boxes describing the function of each organ and noting the differences between the two specimens. Once complete, one student from each group shares a link with the teacher of their completed dissection project.

Students in a 4th grade classroom are eager to demonstrate mastery of skills learned in the subject of Area and Perimeter. The class is divided into pairs, each pair will work together to come up with formulas for given Areas and Perimeters to design and build a zoo. Based on the formulas students will determine the most efficient way the space can be used in the design of their Zoo. Students will draft their zoo on graph paper proving that their formulas are correct and have a layout ready for 3D design. Once the design is complete and has been approved by the teacher students may log into Minecraft and collaboratively begin building a 3D model of their Zoo. Students create signs in front of each exhibit explaining the Area and Perimeter formula used and what the function of the space is. After 3D zoos have been completed students share a link to their Zoo so that fellow classmates may explore the Zoos created by peers.

To assess non-academic skills or the development of students' social skills, work skills, and life skills a rubric was used. Students were able to see the criteria to prove practice and development of each skill. Based on observation by the teacher as students worked through the assignment with peers. After the assignment was complete not only were students graded based on academic understanding of Area and Perimeter, but also non-academic development and awareness.


Video: Submit a 2-5-minute video of your instruction that demonstrates what non-academic assessment looks like in your classroom or learning environment during personalized learning. Include a description of how you build in elements of choice around time, place, path, and pace for learning. List 1-2 specific Non-Academic skills being developed and assessed.
This video should demonstrate your effective and consistent assessment of non-academic skills during personalized learning. Be sure to follow all relevant FERPA and district/charter guidelines in creating and submitting this video.

Student Work: Submit at least 3 learner work samples that demonstrate progression and development of 1-2 non-academic skills assessed in your personalized learning instruction. Include a short description of how the work samples demonstrate your consistent and effective assessment of non-academic skills during personalized learning. Be sure to follow your district/charter guidelines for student privacy.

Lesson Plan: Submit a personalized learning lesson plan that you have used during instruction that includes the development of learners' non-academic skills. The lesson plan should include various types of non-academic skill development opportunities in a variety of ways, and assessment of those skills.
This lesson plan should demonstrate your effective assessment of non-academic skills in your instruction.

Unit Plan: Submit a multi-day, personalized learning unit plan that you have used during instruction that includes the development of learners' non-academic skills. The unit plan should include various types of non-academic skill development opportunities in a variety of ways, and assessment of those skills.
This lesson plan should demonstrate your effective and consistent assessment of non-academic skills in your instruction.

Observation Results: Submit observation reports from a colleague or administrator. Provide observer with criteria on what they are looking for in the observation. Observer should complete 2-3 observation reports. Each observation needs to be of a new learning activity that develops and assesses 1-2 specific non-academic skills during a personalized learning segment.
This evidence should demonstrate your effective and consistent assessment of non-academic skills in your instruction.

Candidate's Choice: Submit another type of evidence demonstrating your effective and consistent assessment of non-academic skills in your personalized learning instruction.

Candidates are required to make 2 evidence submission(s).

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Evidence demonstrates that non-academic skills are assessed during personalized learning.

Criterion 2: Evidence demonstrates the results of non-academic skill assessments are used by educator and learner to guide instruction.


  1. Describe which nonacademic skill(s) are being developed or practiced in your learning environment and how they are being effectively assessed. Be sure to describe your assessment in the context of personalized learning (how you build in elements of choice around time, place, path, and pace)

  2. Explain how your learners benefit from the nonacademic skills they have developed during personalized learning.

  3. Detail how you plan to strengthen the use of nonacademic skills in your classroom in future personalized learning.

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Reflection demonstrates that non-academic skills are assessed during personalized learning.

Criterion 2: Reflection describes specific benefits to learners as they develop nonacademic skills through personalized learning.

Criterion 3: Reflection includes a personalized plan on how to continue the development and use of assessment of nonacademic skills in the learning environment.


Assessing Soft Skills: Are We Preparing Students for Successful Futures? A Perceptions Study of Parents, Teachers, and School Administrators
This report from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) outlines the key findings that nonacademic skills are important to student success.

Bold School: Old School Wisdom + New School Technologies = Blended Learning That Works by Weston Kieschnick
Find it on
Technology is awesome. Teachers are better. Blending new technologies into instruction is a non-negotiable if we are to help our students gain these skills they will need to thrive in careers. And so too is educators' old school wisdom in planning intentional blended learning that works: Bold school thinkers embrace Blended pedagogies and Old school wisdom. In Bold School blended learning is demystified and distilled into the powerful, yet simple Bold School Framework for Strategic Blended Learning to help you enhance your instruction and learning.

Defining and Differentiating Personalized Learning, Blended Learning, and Competency Education from Getting Smart
This article seeks to define personalized learning, blended learning, and competency education. The articles outlines the differences and overlap in these three commonly used terms.

Fostering School Success with Standards for Nonacademic Skills
This report from the Center for American Progress explores the reasons for including social and emotional learning in education standards.

Measuring Academic and Nonacademic Skills: Equally Important
This article from The Journal identifies the importance of measuring students’ soft skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork based on a report from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA).

Nonacademic Skills Are Key To Success. But What Should We Call Them?
Article from NPREd that describes the variety of names given to nonacademic skills including 21st Century Skills, Growth Mindset, Soft Skills, and others.

Nonacademic Skills Are the Necessary Foundation for Learning
This article from Education Week describes the importance of explicitly teaching and assessing nonacademic indicators and social-emotional skills.

Six Examples of What Personalized Learning Looks Like
Article showing six examples of what personalized learning looks like in the classroom. This article follows the four core elements of targeted instruction, data-driven decisions, flexible content, and student reflection and ownership.

Structuring the Classroom for Personalized Learning
This Canvas course was created by Davis School District and is open to all educators in Utah. This is a self-paced learning experience that will introduce you to Personalized Learning. In this course, participants will learn about personalized and blended learning, explore models and frameworks, and view examples from Davis School District. This course is designed to give participants an understanding of personalized and blended learning along with effective strategies to start doing personalized learning in their classroom. Included in the course will be quizzes to check your knowledge of the content. You will need to score 100% on each quiz. You will be allowed to take the quiz until you score 100%. Use the provided link to register for the course.

The Role of Academic and Non-Academic Factors in Improving College Retention
This ACT Policy report provides information about the influence of non-academic factors on student retention and performance at four-year colleges and universities.

Using Social and Emotional Learning to Foster Academic Achievement in Secondary Mathematics
This article from the American Secondary Education Journal describes how teaching social-emotional skills in secondary classrooms is linked to higher student achievement.


Jason Campbell
Jason Campbell
Spencer Hadlock
Spencer Hadlock
Patti Hortin
Patti Hortin
Ashtin Johnson
Ashtin Johnson
Robert Kinghorn
Robert Kinghorn
Madison O
Madison O'Bagy
Brooke Pendleton
Brooke Pendleton
Angela Stewart
Angela Stewart
Kevin Waters
Kevin Waters


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