Countries’ Competencies Index introduced by CCR

@CurrRedesign #4DEdu #21stcenturyskills #AIED

June 25, 2021 – The Center for Curriculum Redesign (CCR) is pleased to announce the introduction of its Discussion paper “Assessing countries’ competencies-CCR-CSE Leading Education Series#3 06-2021”, published jointly with the Center for Strategic Education. This paper wishes to promote a healthy global conversation about the necessity for societies and educators to develop and measure competencies such as Skills and Character qualities, in addition to Knowledge.

CCR built the 4D Index by combining and weighing 4–8 proxy parameters per competency (e.g., corruption index etc. for Ethics) from trusted sources (OECD, UN, WEF, WB, etc.), and based on CCR’s 4D framework (a highly researched synthesis of more than a hundred frameworks from around the world).

Charles Fadel, founder of the CCR, added: “The most interesting results from the paper are:

  1. Even advanced tests like PISA and PIAAC are not correlated with how a country performs on its Competencies, so there is clearly a need for more specific instruments.
  2. Middle-income countries rise significantly when new parameters besides Knowledge, such as Mindfulness, Courage and Growth Mindset, are introduced (witness Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, and others, in the table below).
  3. Nordic/Baltic countries perform extremely well in all respects, reflecting their UN’s Human Development Index, and perhaps owing to a social model that does not tolerate deep inequities.

4D Index of Competencies

The paper concludes with the following critical questions:

  • How can a jurisdiction improve its education system to match the desired outcomes in Skills, Character, and Meta-Learning? Where should it put its educational energies, given its existing social capabilities?
  • Most critically in a troubled world, how can we measure the rate of change of a jurisdiction without longitudinal analysis over a decade? (Time being of the essence). Are there proxies to measuring the adaptability of a jurisdiction, and its willingness to change?

The CCR is a non-profit global organization dedicated to improving education and openly propagating its recommendations and frameworks on a worldwide basis, via answering this question: “What should students learn for the 21st century?”. The CCR’s focus on relevance in education brings together international organizations, jurisdictions, academic institutions, corporations, and non-profit organizations including foundations. For more information, please visit or contact the CCR at:


Q:  Does this mean CCR wants educators to replace knowledge with skills?
A. Unequivocally, no.  This is an old debate and false dichotomy that died out in the US about ten years ago.  Most educators worldwide recognize that Knowledge is not enough to educate a “whole child”.  CCR’s framework shows Knowledge very explicitly, and it has written two (!) large reports on Knowledge, and has also designed knowledge standards for modern Mathematics (to be announced shortly).  Lastly, note the first paragraph of this release that states “in addition to Knowledge” (italicized for your noticing).

Q: What about the challenges posed – in conceptualization, in data sources, in construction and in establishing validity – how have you solved them?
A.  We do not claim to have done that, as this is not a research paper.  But CCR’s proxy approach is commonly used by numerous indices around the world, even in education circles: for instance, the construction of university rankings, with several competing views about which parameters matter, and their weights.  Please refer to the Preamble section of the paper.

Embedding Competencies in Disciplines: which 21st Century Skills/SEL are most appropriate for which content?

Is Math appropriate to teach leadership, or is critical thinking more likely? Beyond Communication and Creativity respectively, what should Language and Arts focus on? After three years of research, CCR publishes its ground-breaking recommendations in a new report, which describes which disciplines are most conducive to teach given competencies. Among the findings:

  • The importance of the Arts for the development of many Competencies
  • The importance of modern disciplines such as entrepreneurship, for competencies that are difficult to cover via traditional disciplines (such as Courage and Leadership).

Executive Summary

While CCR’s Competencies outline a framework—beyond Knowledge—of what people must learn for success, teaching them explicitly can be difficult or overwhelming even for expert teachers. To explicitly teach the Competencies, a framework matching them to specific Disciplines is necessary. This system allows each Discipline to focus on specific Competencies that can be systematically designed to guarantee comprehensive coverage of Skills, Character, and Meta-learning, for any individual student moving through the system. These Competencies should be matched with the disciplines best suited for their learning. Such a system also limits the scope of what teachers must incorporate and master to the most relevant and essential Competencies so as to prevent overload. CCR recommends the mapping between Disciplines and Competencies as described below; it is a strong suggestion about which Competencies should be taught in which discipline. These conclusions were reached based on both top-down (synthesis from research) and bottom-up (opinions from US State Teachers of the Year) approaches.

CCR is grateful to the OAK Foundation for its multi-year generous and trusting support.