Abstract for: Assessing Systems Thinking Across Skill Levels

Within the System Dynamics community, there is agreement about the importance of systems thinking (ST), the role education plays in fostering it, and even how we should teach it. There is less clarity about what ST skill is in terms of specific capabilities (e.g., what one should be able to do at varying levels of proficiency in particular domains). We propose an interactive symposium to discuss how ST success would manifest across levels of skill, how to assess this, and how to use such assessments for educational change. We will invite those working on aspects of systems thinking and engage them in guided discussion on these topics. In the end we hope to have 1) more of a common basis of understanding among those studying ST, 2) a clearer view of the points of disagreement about ST, and the research needed to resolve those points, and 3) a basis for the development of new assessment tools. Participants should also leave understanding how 4) assessment tools can be utilized to advance theory about what ST is, and 5) how the assessment tools can be used to mobilize those outside the SD community for educational policy changes.