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Srecko Joksimovic <[log in to unmask]>
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Srecko Joksimovic <[log in to unmask]>
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Journal of Learning Analytics Special Section Call for Papers
Beyond Cognitive Ability: Enabling Assessment of 21st Century Skills Through Learning Analytics<>

Educational research is increasingly measuring attributes beyond cognitive ability (Farrington et al., 2012; Lounsbury, Sundstrom, Loveland, & Gibson, 2003; Mattern et al., 2014; McAbee, Oswald, & Connelly, 2014; Richardson, Abraham, & Bond, 2012). Consensus does not yet exist on a common term to describe these skills or attributes as they are variously defined as: "non-cognitive skills", "21st century competencies", "personal qualities", "social and emotional learning skills", or "soft skills".  These capture dimensions of learning broader than academic knowledge and have been well established in contemporary literature as highly relevant for success in school, work, or life in general (Barrick, Mount, & Judge, 2003; Poropat, 2009). However, a challenge remains with the current assessment practices (e.g., summative, self-reported, infrequent, subjective) of these constructs as they are hard to quantify and measure.
In this special section, we invite studies that provide objective, unobtrusive, and innovative measures (e.g., indirect measures, content analysis, or analysis of trace data) of 21st century skills, relying primarily on learning analytics methods and approaches that would potentially allow for expanding the assessment of 21st century skills and competencies at scale. We also seek studies that go beyond examining one particular factor, skill, or behavior in isolation, using traditional approaches to data collection (e.g., self-reports, teacher report, or parent report, to name a few). That is, we encourage submissions that explore the combination of different factors and how these skills and competencies work together in affecting immediate (e.g., course level) and long-term (e.g., graduation, employment) learner outcomes. Finally, we aim at bringing coherence in defining the term used to capture skills and competencies sometimes referred to as "noncognitive skills". In this call for special section we refer to these constructs as 21st century skills, however, we acknowledge the limitations of this term and call for defining more appropriate concept that would capture what "those" skills actually are.
Contributions to this special section may address, but are not limited to, one or more of the following topics:

  *   Theories: What are the relevant theories and/or existing frameworks (in various disciplines such as education, psychology, or workforce) that can inform assessments of 21st century skills and competencies, their overlaps, as well as their application?
  *   Data sources: Where and how can data related to learners’ 21st century skills and competencies be measured and collected?
  *   Tools: What analytical and assessment tools are useful in analyzing 21st century skills at scale? How can we appropriately link 21st century skills assessment with cognitive assessment?
  *   Methods: What analytical methods have been used? What other methods can be applied? How are 21st century skills operationalized?
  *   Generalizability: What kind of practices and findings are domain-general across online learning environments?
  *   Applicability: How can research findings translate into actionable insights for various stakeholders (e.g., learners, instructors, administrators, investors)?
  *   Critical perspectives: We also welcome critiques and opinions that question the value of 21st century skills.


  *   Full manuscripts due: April 21st, 2019
  *   Completion of first review round: July 2019
  *   Revised manuscripts due: October 2019
  *   Final decision notification: December 2019
  *   Camera ready: January 2020
Publication of special issue: Issue 7(1) in Spring 2020.


Barrick, M. R., Mount, M. K., & Judge, T. A. (2003). Personality and Performance at the Beginning of the New Millennium: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go Next? International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 9(1‐2), 9-30.
Farrington, C. A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T. S., Johnson, D. W., & Beechum, N. O. (2012). Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners: The Role of Noncognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance-A Critical Literature Review. ERIC.
Lounsbury, J. W., Sundstrom, E., Loveland, J. M., & Gibson, L. W. (2003). Intelligence,“Big Five” personality traits, and work drive as predictors of course grade. Personality and Individual Differences, 35(6), 1231-1239.
Mattern, K., Burrus, J., Camara, W., O’Connor, R., Hansen, M. A., Gambrell, J., … Bobek, B. (2014). Broadening the Definition of College and Career Readiness: A Holistic Approach. ACT Research Report Series, 2014 (5). ACT, Inc.
McAbee, S. T., Oswald, F. L., & Connelly, B. S. (2014). Bifactor Models of Personality and College Student Performance: A Broad Versus Narrow View. European Journal of Personality, 28(6), 604-619.
Poropat, A. E. (2009). A meta-analysis of the five-factor model of personality and academic performance. Psychological Bulletin, 135(2), 322-338.
Richardson, M., Abraham, C., & Bond, R. (2012). Psychological correlates of university students’ academic performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138(2), 353-387.

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