Hilton & Pellegrino Clusters of 21st Century Competencies

The Hilton & Pellegrino Clusters of 21st Century Competencies is a framework developed by the National Research Council, a non-profit that conducts research to advise the government, the public, and the scientific community. The framework focuses on a set of key skills that promote deeper learning, college and career readiness, student-centered learning, and higher order thinking, and was developed by aligning common 21st century skills with existing taxonomies of cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skills.

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Hilton & Pellegrino…cognitiveintrapersonalinterpersonalcognitive processes and…knowledgecreativityintellectual opennesswork ethic and…positive core…teamwork and collaborationleadership

Breakdown by Domain

Domain Key


Key Features

Context & Culture

  • Notes the importance and influence of culture on 21st century competencies and the need for more research that controls for family background
  • Describes research suggesting skills can be developed in formal, informal (e.g., afterschool programs, museums, homes, etc.), and workplace (e.g., professional development, training, etc.) learning environments

Developmental Perspective

  • Discusses the impact of development on some competencies, but no concrete learning progression is provided

Associated Outcomes

  • Describes the links between various 21st century competencies and success in education, work, health, adult relationships, civic participation, and other life outcomes

Available Resources

Support Materials

  • Informational materials such as briefs, presentations, and videos that summarize the framework and accompanying report
  • A series of workshop summaries and papers on assessment, academic integration, and skill demands
  • Provides guidance on how to develop 21st century skills, including policy recommendations; coordination with social and emotional learning efforts; and alignment with learning standards for math, English, and science

Programs & Strategies

  • Offers a practitioner guide that outlines evidence-based teaching techniques for engaging students in “deeper learning” to build 21st century skills
  • No concrete programs/strategies provided

Measurement Tools

  • Recommends specific measurement tools for cognitive competence, including: PISA, Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
  • Recommends general measurement strategies for intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies, including surveys, social network analysis, situational judgment tests, and behavioral observations
  • Provides information about the limitations of certain measurement tools/strategies
  • Includes a workshop summary and several papers that explore strategies for assessing a select set of 21st century skills

Key Publications

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