New CAE Webinar Explores How to Develop and Measure Students’ Higher Order, Future-Ready Skills

Education experts share actionable insights to help students become flexible, successful adults

NEW YORK, April 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Council for Aid to Education, Inc. (CAE), a nonprofit developer of performance-based and custom assessments that authentically measure students’ essential college and career skills, today released an on-demand webinar on developing and measuring the essential skills students need to achieve academic and career success. The webinar was moderated by CAE Chief Academic Officer Doris Zahner, Ph.D., and includes education and assessment experts Jimmy Han, director of project management at UnboundEd, and Denise Mutlu, Ed.D., senior vice president of assessments at Project Lead The Way (PLTW).

Entitled “Future-Ready Students: How to Develop and Measure Higher Order Skills,” the April 6 live presentation of the webinar drew more than 240 educators and school and district leaders from across the nation. The experts led an engaging conversation on the role of professional development in helping teachers nurture the growth of higher order skills in their students, how to transform instruction to go above and beyond traditional content areas, and how to embed measurement of these essential skills into course content.

Many states and districts around the country are focused on Portrait of a Graduate initiatives that promote higher order skills among their students. These initiatives are also increasingly engaged in preparing educators to teach and measure student progress.

“Portrait of a Graduate efforts are an important step toward increasing the focus on critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills. K-12 institutions now need to incorporate the necessary instruction and measurement to ensure students are proficient in these skills when they graduate,” said Dr. Zahner, who oversees all research and psychometrics for CAE’s performance-based assessments. “This webinar demonstrates how educators and school and district leaders can better prepare students for their next step.”

At UnboundEd, Han works with a variety of school districts and schools nationwide to provide professional development opportunities that promote high-quality equitable instruction for all educators and school leaders. In his discussion, he shared the role teachers play in creating engaging, affirming and meaningful instruction.

Dr. Mutlu, an expert in test design and assessment development, shared PLTW’s philosophy that all students, beginning at a young age, should have access to real-world and applied learning experiences that empower them to gain the skills needed to thrive in secondary education and beyond. PLTW’s courses offer students a range of learning experiences that help them master foundational content knowledge and develop critical thinking, so they can become more proficient in a range of skills often found in post-secondary education and the modern workforce.

Dr. Zahner discussed the results of two studies showing that students who perform better on CAE’s performance-based Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) have higher cumulative GPAs by the time they graduate and have positive post-university outcomes as measured by employment, salary, and graduate school enrollment as well as employer ratings.

“Critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills are essential for future success,” said Dr. Zahner. “Mastery of these skills gives students the ability to learn and apply knowledge throughout secondary education, in any post-secondary field of study, and in any career.”

To learn more about CAE’s performance-based assessments and curriculum for higher order skills, visit

About CAE
As a nonprofit whose mission is to help improve the academic and career outcomes of secondary and higher education students, CAE is the leader in designing innovative performance tasks for measurement and instruction of higher order skills and within subject areas.

Over the past 20 years, CAE has helped over 825,000 students globally understand and improve their proficiency in critical thinking, problem solving and effective written communication. Supported by best practices in assessment development, administration and psychometrics, CAE's performance-based assessments include the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) and College and Career Readiness Assessment (CCRA+). To learn more, please visit and connect with us on LinkedIn and YouTube.

About Project Lead The Way
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a mission-driven organization that is transforming the learning experience for millions of PreK-12 students and thousands of teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 12,200 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit

About UnboundEd
UnboundEd designs learning for educators that exemplifies equitable instruction so that students experience grade-level, engaging, affirming, and meaningful instruction. In our professional development, we discuss the historical implications of systemic racism and marginalization while also focusing on research-based instructional practices. We believe in valuing cultural and academic identities in all students. To learn more, please visit


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