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Recent school reform seeks to reconceptualize schooling for most students. Reform proposals urge that instruction emphasize "generic skills" as much as, or more than, it does occupation-specific or domain-specific knowledge and skills. The idea is to enable people to (1) cooperate for group problem solving; (2) define problems in complex environments; (3) seek, acquire, and synthesize new information; and (4) adapt to changes and information gaps while problem solving. This report represents an initial effort to determine what generic skills are needed, whether they are being and can be taught, and how schooling can be structured to develop these skills. The results indicate that an emphasis on training generic skills alone is unlikely to be successful without the parallel development of an adaptive motivational style. The findings also suggest that approaches for teaching generic skills can be applied to achieve integration of vocational and academic curricula.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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