The Cross-Cutting Capabilities Framework

Our holistic framework identifies four broad cross-cutting capabilities: (1) technology and  information literacy, (2) collaborative problem solving, (3) thinking and metacognition, (4) studying  and learning (see Table 3 for descriptions). Each of these four capabilities constitutes a relatively  broad collection of skills and some (e.g. collaborative problem solving) have aspects that blend  together and integrate skills from the core academic and the behavioral sections of the framework.

Mirroring core academic skills, the cross-cutting capabilities framework breaks each broad capability down into more specific strands and skills (See Figure 4). For example, as illustrated in the figure, Technology and Information Literacy is broken down into three strands: (1) the ability to research and acquire information using technology, (2) the ability to apply and create artifacts using technology, and (3) foundational knowledge and skills related to specific hardware and software technologies. Each strand is composed of substrands related to a particular process or technology, such as evaluating information. Proficiency in each substrand is then defined in terms of detailed tasks and attendant knowledge.

In the following sections we present research evidence and rationale behind our decision to focus on these four broad capabilities. Each capability corresponds to a skill domain that is valuable across a wide range of academic subjects and careers. Details on the selection process and our criteria for inclusion in the framework are provided in the appendix.