Key Skills Starter Rubrics

About Metiri’s Starter Rubrics for Key Skills

Increasingly school districts are acknowledging the critical role of 21st Century Skills in preparing students for college and a career in today’s high tech, global, connected society. The 21st Century Skills include such skills as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, self-direction, information literacy, global and cultural awareness.

As school districts begin to address these skills within the curriculum, they immediately recognize the need to assess their students’ progress. A very common way to to gauge performance progress of students on a myriad of skills, processes, and habits of mind is the use of rubrics. To that end, the starter rubrics for each of the skills are now available for public purchase.

The starter rubrics include definitions and scaled descriptions for creativity, critical thinking, curiosity, economic literacy, communication, self-direction, and more.

Educators who use these starter rubrics will find them to be an excellent starting point for the development of rubrics customized for their students, curricula, classrooms, and units of study. Metiri Group spent several years conducting the background research necessary to develop these continua. Our intent was to provide teachers with explicit criteria by which to gauge students’ progress. Each continuum defines the skill; identifies specific behavioral, cognitive, and affective qualities of each 21st century skill; describes levels of progress toward each of these qualities; and positions each skill in the context of today’s digital society.

Early in our development of the continua, it became clear that many of the skills identified were not new constructs; existing research was able to substantially inform the qualities that make up those skills. What these sources typically did not address (with some exceptions) was the shape these skills can take, either in 21st century environments or in the context of the technology tools available today. Thus, the strategy for developing the continua was two-fold: we drew on existing work as much as possible to inform the content of the continua, and we supplemented this content with our own expertise on teaching and learning in digital-age classrooms. Specific sources used to generate each of the student profiles and continua are listed in this document by skill.

Tactical plans (as opposed to strategic plans) set for specific short term actions that are aligned to long-term goals.

Our model for Capacity Building will ensure that your district knows how to select digital learning solutions that have a high probability of advancing the districts teaching and learning goals (academic or otherwise). Once districts teams understand the process, they will be coached through our time-tested model for developing long-term, intermediate, and short-term outcomes for each digital solution. As a result, each district will walk away with implementation plans that are grounded in implementation science and focused on student outcomes.


The Metiri Capacity Solution was developed under the leadership of Cheryl Lemke, internationally recognized leader in evaluation of digital learning and Dr. Jody Britten. Dr. Britten and Ms. Lemke have over 50 years of combined expertise grounded in implementation sciences and digital learning.

The Metiri team followed a rigorous development process that involved multiple rounds of piloting and refinement of the Capacity Building tools (including selection of high impact strategies).