Skip to main content
Quick Links

We put students first, seek growth, are open to change, do great work together and value differences.

Website Accessibility

2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD
Compass Head

21st Century Skills for VBCPS

Our Compass to 2015 strategic plan for Virginia Beach City Public Schools has been designed to equip students with the skills they need to succeed as 21st century learners, workers and citizens. So just what are those 21st century skills? Based on our research and our own experience, we believe the following to be key skills for today’s world. Therefore, instruction will be designed to foster the development of those attributes.View a description of the different levels of development for each of the 21st century skills described below.

CheckBoxCritical and Creative Thinkers, Innovators, and Problem Solvers

Critical Thinking:  Analyze and evaluate information and ideas to determine appropriate actions or develop a point of view. 

Creative/Innovative Thinking:  Generate original ideas, unique solutions or new associations of existing ideas for an aesthetic or practical purpose.

Problem Solving:  Anticipate and identify problems and challenges to develop solutions that effectively address them.

CheckBoxEffective Communicators and Collaborators

Information Literacy:  Use digital technology (networks, databases, and print materials) in an ethical manner, to identify relevant sources, evaluate validity, synthesize, analyze, and interpret information.

Listening:  Construct meaning and demonstrate understanding from verbal and nonverbal cues.

Collaboration:  Interact with diverse groups to achieve an objective while displaying flexibility and willingness to understand alternate points of view.

Communication:  Articulate ideas and information clearly and appropriately for the given context, medium, and audience.

CheckBoxGlobally Aware, Independent, Responsible Learners and Citizens

Social Responsibility: Understand the importance of acting with integrity, empathy, and compassion and commit to making a meaningful contribution to the local, national and/or global community by offering time, talents, advocacy, and/or resources to a worthy cause.

Sustainability:  Foster responsible development and protection of the world’s natural environment and resources through individual and collective action.

Interdependence:  Recognize and understand the social, economic, and political issues and concerns that connect us on all levels - locally, nationally and/or globally - and commit, when necessary, to using this knowledge to inform decisions and actions.

Health Literacy:  Make informed decisions based on appropriate sources for a healthy lifestyle.


Compass to 2015 - Glossary of Terms

Sometimes the vernacular of the education profession is difficult to understand, but we are committed to changing that. We believe that when parents, business partners and citizens understand our aim, they will see opportunities to become involved in supporting student success. Consequently, we have taken the time to develop this Glossary of Terms that have been used in Compass to 2015. We are committed to dialogues with you - our community - that are transparent and understandable.

Academically proficient: Describes students who meet established benchmarks or criteria for learning.

Achievement gap: The variance in performance that exists between subgroups of students. In Virginia Beach those subgroups are: students with disabilities, limited English proficient, economically disadvantaged and the state-designated major racial/ethnic groups (African American, Caucasian and Hispanic). Achievement gaps can be observed on a variety of measures, including standardized test scores, grade point averages, dropout rates, and college enrollment and completion rates.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) - An individual state’s measure of yearly progress towards achieving state academic standards, as described in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation.

Advanced courses/accelerated classes: Involves the study of a subject area that is beyond the grade level.

Advanced placement (AP):  A demanding academic course of study in college-level classes students can take while in high school.  Students who complete the course and perform above a specified level on the College Board test usually administered in May could be eligible to earn college credit.

Authentic assessment: An assessment which asks students to perform real-world tasks. The student will typically have to employ critical thinking and problem-solving skills to successfully address the challenge presented. Student performance on a task is typically scored on the basis of a list of desired outcomes (known as a rubric). 

Balanced assessment system: An assessment system that thoughtfully employs multiple types of assessments, including, but not limited to, performance tasks, multiple choice, essay, etc.  A balanced assessment system is designed to improve learning during instruction and to measure both core subject mastery and 21st century skills.

Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA): A reading assessment employed at the elementary level in Virginia Beach that is designed to help the classroom teacher observe and document students’ development as readers.

Dual enrollment:  A program that allows students to take classes that not only help them meet graduation requirements, but that provide them with college credits. 

Extended Day Kindergarten (EDK): A program VBCPS developed to provide kindergarten students with intensive assistance in literacy and mathematics.  Identified students receive an extra half-day of instruction beyond the regular kindergarten program

Honors classes:Classes that typically contain the same or similar curriculum as non-honors classes.  However, these classes generally cover topics in greater depth at an accelerated pace. 

International Baccalaureate (IB) - A program at the middle and high school levels in which students are exposed to a rigorous course of study with internationally recognized curricula that places a strong emphasis on the ideals of international understanding and responsible citizenship.

K-12 literacy plan: A comprehensive plan designed to advance reading and writing success for all students. In Virginia Beach, this document defines 12 strategic processes that are aimed at accelerating students through literacy tiers. It also includes criteria for placement of students in appropriate tiers.

Peer/adult mentoring (mentorship): Mentoring is a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else. The power of mentoring is that it creates a one-of-a-kind opportunity for collaboration, goal achievement, and problem-solving.

Performance assessment: Any assessment strategy, beyond standardized and multiple choice tests, designed to estimate a child's knowledge, understanding, ability, skill and/or attitudes.   Performance-based assessments typically include, but are not limited to, exhibitions, investigations, demonstrations, written or oral responses, journals, and portfolios. 

Professional Development Program (PDP): The name given to the School Board-approved program of focused professional development in the area of teaching and learning. PDP consists of 15 division-sponsored hours and 7 site-based (third-day) hours of professional development.  The primary focus of the professional development program is to use standards, data, and strategies that lead to student achievement.

Professional learning community: A small group of educators who commit to long-term collaboration to improve student achievement.  They meet regularly, thus establishing a trusting environment where the members may candidly discuss learning and teaching.  The group is self-directed, valuing the professional opinions of its members about the unique challenges they face.

Rigor:  Refers to content that is complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally and/or emotionally challenging.  (Strong, Silver, and Perini (2001) in Teaching What Matters Most: Strategies for Raising Student Achievement) Rigorous instruction engages students in analysis, problem solving, and critical and creative thinking. 

Relevant instruction:  Relevant instruction actively engages students in authentic, meaningful work which stems from real-world problems and includes opportunities for appropriate challenge, transfer of knowledge, collaboration, and oral and written communication.

Resilience: The attitude/disposition of not giving up in challenging situations because of the belief that effort and challenge lead to success more than ability (Dweck, 1999).  Resilience includes elements of self-regulation, self-efficacy and self-esteem.

Response to Intervention (RTI): A tiered approach for monitoring and documenting individual student progress over time which includes needed interventions and support in the areas of academics and /or behavior.

School improvement (process) plan: Currently Virginia Beach schools are using the Continuous Improvement Model (CIM) to develop Plans for Continuous Improvement (PCI).  The CIM model is the Plan, Do, Check, Act Cycle of Continuous Improvement. 

Student engagement: When students are actively involved in purposeful, authentic, relevant, and collaborative work that motivates them to take ownership of their learning and to make meaningful connections in the curriculum content.


Chicago Consortium on School Research 2005 CPS survey

Consortium for School Networking.  (2008).  Create Balanced Assessments.

Council of Chief State School Officers.   (2003).  The Words We Use:  A Glossary of Terms for Early Childhood Education Standards and Assessment.
/publications_ and_products/2886.cfm

Facione, P. A. (1990). Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction. Millbrae, CA, The California Academic Press: 19.

Flavell, 1979; Pintrich et al., 2000; Schneider & Pressley, 1997.  Pintrich, The Role of Metacognitive Knowledge in Learning, Teaching, and Assessing (pp. 219-225)

Freedman, M. F. & Houtz, J.  (2004).  A Glossary of Terms Used in Educational Assessment. Washington, DC: National Association of Gifted Children.

Gulikers, J. T. M., Bastiaens, T. J., & Kirschner, P. A.  (2004).  Perceptions of Authentic Assessment: Five Dimensions of Authenticity. Paper presented at the Second Biannual Joint Northumbria/EARLI SIG Assessment Conference, Bergen, Norway. 

McNeil. John D. (1996), Curriculum: a comprehensive introduction, fifth edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pg.154-156.Mueller, J.  (2008).  Authentic Assessment Toolbox:  What is Authentic Assessment?

Paul, R.W. (1993) Critical Thinking: How to Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World. Santa Rosa, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking

Pintrich, The Role of Metacognitive Knowledge in Learning, Teaching, and Assessing (pp. 219-225)

Redfield, D., Roeber, E., & Stiggins, R.  (2008).  Building Balanced Assessment Systems to Guide Educational Improvement. Paper presented at the Council of Chief State School Officers 38th National Conference on Student Assessment, Orlando, FL. 

Stiggins,  R.   (2008).   Assessment  Manifesto:   A  Call  for  the  Development  of Balanced Assessment Systems.  Portland, OR: Educational Testing Service.

Last Modified on Monday, April 23, 2018