Educators and institution leaders can look for new developments around key areas that support student success

4 student success trends to track in 2022

Educators and institution leaders can look for new developments around key areas that support student success

Higher education institutions will explore new, innovative methods to assess and develop these abilities. Our research shows that students recognize these as important skills to develop for their careers and believe that employers value them as well.

Performance-based assessments

I also believe that educational institutions will expand their use of authentic, performance-based assessments to supplement traditional exams. Performance-based assessments allow students to demonstrate what they can do rather than just what they know. Results from our surveys indicate that students put forth more effort and are more engaged on performance-based assessments than multiple-choice tests. In my opinion, these assessments better prepare students for academic and career success because they ask students to apply their skills to real-world tasks.

Performance-based assessments provide educators and administrators valuable insights to guide growth in essential skills. Institutions will use assessments earlier and more often, rather than just at the end of an individual’s academic study (i.e. formative and interim rather than just summative). Institutions are seeking a more complete picture of a student’s readiness for their next step and performance-based assessments serve as an effective instrument for identifying student strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Educators can use the insights gained to provide appropriate instruction, developmental supports, professional learning, and school-wide programming to help improve students’ skills. In fact, at CAE we are currently working with a major business school to help build these in-demand career skills by combining our assessments with targeted instruction for all entering and exiting students. I see this type of program expanding as more higher education institutions explore adding essential skills coursework to their curricula.

AI scoring

One of the challenges with increased use of performance-based assessments has been the time and resources required to grade essays. Expect advancements in the artificial intelligence (AI) scoring process to make the use of these assessments more prevalent, as results from AI scoring become comparable or even more reliable than expert human scorers. CAE has been employing AI scoring engines to evaluate students’ written responses for more than a decade and continues to refine the models. With AI scoring, we can reduce the time and cost to carefully score students’ written responses. In addition, with AI scoring, responses can be scored and returned to students within minutes of completing testing. The earlier a student receives feedback, the sooner they can focus on their areas for growth and development.


Lastly, there will be increased demand for evidence-based credentials, particularly to demonstrate competency in essential skills, which are not reported on a college transcript. Employers need objective measures as part of the hiring process and students need the ability to showcase their success skills to stand out among other candidates, especially those with similar degrees and GPAs. Micro-credentials will not replace college degrees, but rather augment them with a more complete picture of a candidate’s potential. Micro-credentials must include evidence of how it was awarded to allow employers to better understand the student’s skill level.

As educators, we must always look to transform the lives of our students during the time they are with us, seeking better ways of teaching and empowering them to be leaders of tomorrow.

eSchool Media Contributors