EntreAssess discussed at United Nations in Geneva

News of the EntreAssess approaches to understanding what it takes to be entrepreneurial have been discussed at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.

A few years ago UNCTAD conducted a series of Multi Year Expert Groups and developed an ‘eco system’ approach to developing policy frameworks that support entrepreneurship. Enhanced Entrepreneurship Education and Skills Development is one of 6 pillars that support the Entrepreneurship Policy Framework and Implementation Guidance, and it includes embedding entrepreneurial learning in both formal and informal learning. Of course supporting teachers and encouraging the sharing of learning is a big part of this, and it is exactly where EntreAssess can help.

Key questions in the UNCTAD policy framework ask if national curricula are being developed and if it is integrated in all disciplines. It also asks if both attitudes and enabling skills are developed, and not simply knowledge recollection – as assessed in examinations and written tests. Additional forms of assessment are clearly needed, so that a fuller picture of learner performance can be considered, and learners can be better supported as a result.

This is important, because in an ever-changing landscape, the ability to harness… breadth as well as depth of knowledge, at appropriate points in time, becomes a new goal.

One of the key points being considered by UNCTAD’s team is not the relatively easy to assess understanding of hard skills (management, financial, operational), but also what are often called soft skills, such as creativity and innovation. These skills became a central theme of UNCTAD discussions and research during 2014-15, and are now uppermost in many people’s minds when thinking about the topic.

Findings so far suggest that assessment needs to evolve, and that more supportive ways to evaluate learning that aligns effectively with teaching practices are required. The research also concluded that whilst models are being developed, they are often too complex and time consuming to be realistic options for a teacher to undertake.

Again this is where EntreAssess can help to inform and help teachers and educators across all disciplines.

Andy Penaluna, Research Director of the Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship, University of Wales Trinity Saint David