Since 2002, CAE has been measuring students’ 21st century success skills through performance-based assessments and providing valid and reliable insights to educators.

Our assessments utilize current best practices and research, supplemented by an advisory board of leading academics and practitioners.

Employers emphasize the importance of communication, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and interpersonal (soft) skills. But studies show many college graduates insufficiently demonstrate these abilities.

By measuring the skills that are most important for future success, we deliver results that help educators and students implement strategies for improvement.

Top skills employees need to become contributors to their company, community and society.

% of managers who feel recent college graduates lack skill

  • Critical Thinking 60% 60%
  • Problem Solving 60% 60%
  • Attention to Detail 56% 56%
  • Communication 46% 46%
  • Writing Proficiency 44% 44%
  • Public Speaking 39% 39%
  • Interpersonal Skills/Teamwork 36% 36%

21st Century Skills are in Demand, but Lacking

Oral and written communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills are in high demand by employers.
Rios, et al 2020

The core work-related skills with the greatest growth in demand across all industries include cognitive abilities (e.g., logical reasoning, cognitive flexibility, quantitative reasoning), system skills (e.g., judgement and decision making), and complex problem solving.
Future of Jobs, The World Economic Forum (2016)

93% of survey respondents agree that a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.
Hart Research Associates (2013)

CAE engages in rigorous research to further the study of educational assessment, guide our assessment design, and ensure that our solutions meet the needs of educators and students.

Below is a select sample of CAE’s research papers and conference presentations:

Predictive Validity

Performance-based Assessments

Motivation & Engagement


If you’re interested in other CAE research, below is a link to a select chronological list of papers, presentations, and reports of CAE’s research initiatives since 2005

Client Use Cases

Our Mission to help educators understand student potential can be applied to a wide variety of situations and needs, including:

  • As a benchmark for 21st century success skills, to capture students’ strengths and areas of opportunity.
  • As a measure of students’ learning gains, in either a longitudinal or cross-sectional model.
  • As a formative assessment to provide students with individualized feedback.
  • As an independent instrument to measure the efficacy of a program or curriculum.

Below is a select sample of Client Use Cases: