Neag School Team and P21 Partner to Release Research Briefs on 4Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration

P21, a leading organization bringing together business, education, and policymakers around the common goal of 21st-century readiness – in collaboration with research partners at the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut – releases a series of research briefs today on key aspects of conceptualizing, developing, and assessing each of the 4Cs: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. The briefs outline key research findings and best practices focused on embedding the 4Cs into practice in classrooms and beyond in order to boost 21st-century learning acquisition.4Cs

Intended as a guiding tool for education practitioners as well as policymakers, the 4Cs Research Briefs provide plain-language descriptions of current research in practice, successful interventions, assessments, recommendations, and more.

“Our goal with these research briefs was to determine what we really know about helping students develop these critical skills, and the good news is that the research base on enhancing students’ 21st-century competencies is rich and thriving,” says Jonathan Plucker, Neag School of Education professor of educational leadership at the University of Connecticut and leading author of the 4Cs Research Brief Series. “Though more research is needed in certain areas, we found considerable evidence of strong conceptual, intervention, and assessment work that can guide our efforts to foster creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication in our children.”

“We know that educators are eager for proven methodologies to engage students and bring the 4Cs to life in the classroom,” says Dr. Helen Soulé, P21 executive director. “These briefs provide insight into what the research tells us about best 4Cs practices and will inform and inspire educators so that more students are able to reap the benefits of a 21st-century learning experience.”

Available online at, this free set of resources also includes perspectives from experts in the field, including P21 members and exemplary schools, and districts around the country.

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