Cover: Assessing Skills for Work

Assessing Skills for Work

Two Perspectives

Published in: Oxford Economic Papers, v. 3, 2001, p. 385-405

Posted on rand.org 2001

by Cathy Stasz

Changes in the nature of work have created demands for new skills and education and training policies to enhance skill development. To successfully accomplish the latter, policymakers must first define and measure skills, then understand how they contribute to economic performance. This paper contrasts two theoretical perspectives for skills measurement: the economic perspective that dominates the policy discussion about skills, and the sociocultural perspective. The paper explores the basic assumptions about skills from each perspective and considers how each addresses different issues concerning skill requirements. It argues that the sociocultural perspective has some advantages over the dominant paradigm.

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