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Assessing the university student perceived learning gains in generic skills: A longitudinal study using Rasch modelling

Joseph Chow (Educational Development Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Ada Tse (Educational Development Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Christine Armatas (Educational Development Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 28 January 2020

Issue publication date: 15 December 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report undergraduate students’ learning gains in six areas of generic skills. The paper reports on students’ responses to the First Year Experience (FYE) Survey completed at the end of their first year and Graduating Student Survey (GSS) in the final semester of their final year.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, a longitudinal design was applied in data collection, analysis and reporting of assessment if student learning gains. The undergraduate students who were the first cohort of four-year curriculum students in a Hong Kong university were selected as the sample. Repeated measures of reported learning gains of a longitudinal sample based on stacking of both FYE and GSS data were analysed using the Rasch model.

Findings

The results showed that the scale for measuring the six areas of generic skills had high reliability and good person separation. Comparison of repeated measures from the same group of students at the two time points were examined to explore whether there is growth in the generic skills during their university studies.

Research limitations/implications

One limitation of the study was the relatively small sample size of 359 students in one higher education institution.

Practical implications

The findings of the study provide insight into conceptual understanding and measurement of university student learning gains.

Originality/value

Whilst several studies have investigated university student learning gains, there is limited research which explores the use Rasch modelling in assessment of student learning gains in multiple areas towards completion of their undergraduate studies.

Keywords

Citation

Chow, J., Tse, A. and Armatas, C. (2020), "Assessing the university student perceived learning gains in generic skills: A longitudinal study using Rasch modelling", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 12 No. 5, pp. 993-1008. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-05-2019-0130

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited