Microsoft Building International Assessment Standard for Educational Systems

Together with Cisco and Intel

Microsoft is one of the companies involved in the development of a new international assessment standard designed to measure accurately the performance of educational systems worldwide. The Redmond giant has partnered with Cisco and Intel, and revealed commitment to combine their efforts in order to fuel a multi-sector research project designed to produce a new set of assessment approaches, as well as methods and technologies set up to provide an accurate evaluation of the 21st-century teaching and learning processes worldwide. At the Learning and Technology World Forum in London, Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel asked educational organizations, governments, and additional members of the public sector to join the initiative.

“As we continue to engage with government leaders, institutions and educators, one of the most important points that is consistently raised is the need for public and private sectors to unite in an effort to extend access to quality education, increase graduation rates, and create a consistent way to measure success,” Anoop Gupta, corporate vice president for the Unlimited Potential Group, the Education Product Group, and Technology Policy and Strategy at Microsoft, explained.

“Through this collaboration, we hope to inspire others to join the mission, because we believe that, together, we can make greater impact towards ensuring students of today are better prepared for the workforce of tomorrow.”

The new project fostered by Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel will be lead by Barry McGaw, PhD in the role of executive director. McGaw is currently the director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, and has put forth the perspective that education cannot be the exclusive responsibility of governments. The software giant itself is one of the members of the private sector that has indicated a strong commitment to increasing the quality of educational systems around the world.

“Cisco believes a holistic transformation of the global educational system requires a long-term, multi-stakeholder commitment from the public and private sector,” Michael Stevenson, vice president of Global Education, Cisco, added. “We believe the collaboration between Cisco, Intel and Microsoft can serve as an impetus in creating and implementing an international assessment standard to measure skills and abilities that are critical for student success in the 21st-century.”

McGaw expressed the opinion that the initiative developed by Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel will be at the heart of a much needed systemic change in education. According to the executive director, the evolution of educational systems can only be achieved in the context of a reform in the assessment model. In the end, the new international assessment standard will serve to make sure that students in today's educational systems will be ready to tackle the work needs of the future.

“Cisco, Intel and Microsoft each have a long commitment to global education and enabling and empowering educators,” Will Swope, Intel’s vice president and general manager, Corporate Sustainability Group, stated. “The collaboration will help us reach our common goal of transforming education around the world. Specifically, we are aiming to resolve the gap that exists between what goes on in schools and what goes on in the real world, and better measure the skills that are truly needed for the 21st-century.”

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