21st Century Skills Mapping
Education is changing. No longer just focused on the acquisition of a knowledge-based curriculum, countries worldwide are expanding their educational vision to include what are often termed 21st century skills (21CS). Wide-ranging skills such as critical thinking, communication, decision-making, creative thinking, and cross-cultural competencies are often included. However, there is no consensus on what is meant by 21CS or how these skills are included in countries’ curricula. 21CS MAP is a new, comparative, curriculum mapping study designed to bridge this gap.
Overview of 21CS MAP

The study entails a curriculum audit, designed to identify what capabilities or skills, and what levels of these, are described by education systems. Information will be collected by participating countries from their formal education documentation. Results will be descriptive, identifying the different ways countries approach 21CS integration. The audit will explore documentation across four levels: 1) Identification of 21CS valued at over-arching level, 2) Descriptions of the valued 21CS, 3) Visibility of 21CS within subject syllabi, and 4) Information about expected levels of competence in demonstration of 21CS.

Why Participate?

Participating in 21CS MAP will provide reliable, comparative information about the different curricular approaches taken by countries to give students the opportunity to develop these transversal competencies. These data will help extend our knowledge about optimal ways of acting on concerns about the effectiveness of formal education systems to support whole person development as well as traditional academic skills. As many countries initiate the process of integration of 21CS, this IEA resource will provide a much needed contribution to better understand models and characteristics of implementation.


April 2021

Consultations on framework & survey structure

May 2021

1st meeting of NRC meeting to review study framework


Pilot preparation, upload and data collection

November 2021

2nd NRC meeting for main survey training

November 2021

Release of the main survey tool

March - June 2022

Descriptive analysis & preliminary results

June 2022

3rd NRC meeting to review results

End 2022

Publication of the results

Target Population

21CS MAP will be conducted for two grades: the fourth grade, or the grade that represents four years of schooling, counting from the first year of ISCED Level 1; and the eighth grade, or the grade that represents eight years of schooling, counting from the first year of ISCED Level 1.

How to Participate

For country enrollment, please contact IEA Amsterdam Director, Dr Andrea Netten.

Detailed information about 21CS MAP, costs and timelines involved are available in the information package and formal invitation letter below.