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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 1 June 2016

Kevin Schoepp and Maurice Danaher

Industry and academia around the world stress the importance of professional skills (also known as soft skills, generic skills, or transferable skills) so it is necessary to be…

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Abstract

Industry and academia around the world stress the importance of professional skills (also known as soft skills, generic skills, or transferable skills) so it is necessary to be able to assess students’ attainment of these skills. An innovative method was developed in the USA for assessment of these skills in an engineering program (Ater Kranov, Hauser, Olsen, & Girardeau, 2008); this method was based around student discussion of an open-ended, unresolved, discipline-related problem, held face-to-face and subsequently analyzed using a rubric. In the research project described here, the method was adapted for the United Arab Emirates by writing appropriate scenarios for computing students, by modifying the rubric and by running the discussion on an online discussion board. The primary aims were to determine the feasibility of adapting the method and to examine its suitability. The results of the study showed that the method can be adapted and employed very successfully with UAE students. This paper presents the method, its adaptation and implementation, and the results obtained.

Details

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2077-5504

Article
Publication date: 16 July 2018

Anthony Rhodes, Maurice Danaher and Ashley Ater Kranov

There is considerable agreement around the foundation skills required by employers that will enable graduates to integrate and devise promising solutions for the challenges faced…

Abstract

Purpose

There is considerable agreement around the foundation skills required by employers that will enable graduates to integrate and devise promising solutions for the challenges faced by knowledge and globalized societies. These are life skills (communication skills, teamwork and leadership skills, language skills in reading and writing and information literacy), transferable skills (such as problem-solving, including critical thinking, creativity and quantitative reasoning) and technology skills (search for knowledge and build upon it). Foundation skills, however, are recognized to be difficult both to teach and assess. This paper aims to describe a performance assessment method to assess and measure these skills in a uniquely concurrent way – the General Education Foundation Skills Assessment (GEFSA).

Design/methodology/approach

The GEFSA framework comprises a scenario/case describing an unresolved contemporary issue, which engages student groups in online discussions, and a task-specific analytic rubric to concurrently assess the extent to which students have attained the targeted foundation skills. The method was applied in three semesters – during 2016 and 2017. These students were non-native English speaking students in a General Education program at a university in the UAE.

Findings

Results obtained from the rubric for each foundation skill were analyzed and interpreted to ensure robustness of method and tool usability and reliability, provide insight into, and commentary on, the respective skill attainment levels and assist in establishing realistic target ranges for General Education student skill attainment. The results showed that the method is valid and provides valuable data for curriculum development.

Originality/value

This is the first method in published literature that directly assesses the foundation skills for General Education students simultaneously, thus providing educators with valuable data on the skill level of the students. Additionally, repeated use of the method is a valuable way of teaching skills.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

Abstract

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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