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Article
Publication date: 19 February 2020

Alrence Santiago Halibas, Shameena Mehtab, Alaa Al-Attili, Benjamin Alo, Ronald Cordova and Maria Elisa Linda Taeza Cruz

Graduates are expected to possess the knowledge and right skillset, commonly known as graduate attributes, which they need to become employable and work-ready. This study…

Abstract

Purpose

Graduates are expected to possess the knowledge and right skillset, commonly known as graduate attributes, which they need to become employable and work-ready. This study describes the approaches that were employed by an academic institution in developing an assessment framework for measuring the student achievement of the graduate attributes and learning outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

It used thematic analysis in analyzing the 43 audit reports of higher educational institutions (HEIs) in Oman which have undergone the regional quality audit as well as the outcomes of the institutional standards assessment.

Findings

The analysis exposed the critical issues necessary for embedding graduate attributes and learning outcomes in higher education. Likewise, the study revealed that the assessment of the graduate attributes (GAs) and learning outcomes (LOs) is the area that garnered the most number of comments from the audit panel, and 69 per cent of the HEIs are still problematic in this area. Moreover, most of the HEIs in Oman lack the mechanisms to assess student learning as evidenced in the regional accreditation outcomes. Only 43.8 per cent of the HEIs, which have undergone the institutional accreditation process, have garnered a Met Rating in the Graduate Attributes and Student Learning Outcome criterion. Hence, this study presupposes its high relevance and usefulness to the work in this area, drawing from the experience of an HEI in Oman.

Practical implications

This study will present the relevant and meaningful content, especially good practices and potential gaps that inform HEIs regarding the current trends, policies, and practices relevant to the assessment of graduate attributes and learning outcomes in higher education.

Originality/value

This study extends the limited literature on the assessment of graduate attributes and learning outcomes, especially among the HEIs in Oman.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Ramudu Bhanugopan and Alan Fish

The purpose of this paper is to recognise the important technical and business skills and personal attributes necessary to support the “employability” of undergraduate…

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1402

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to recognise the important technical and business skills and personal attributes necessary to support the “employability” of undergraduate business students.

Design/methodology/approach

Senior‐level undergraduate business students and employers were surveyed regarding their perceptions on the importance of certain general business and technical skills and personal attributes which contribute to employability of the students in the industries.

Findings

Results indicate that significant differences were shown to exist between students and employers in their perceptions of each of the three “employability” support fields. Results also suggest the overall importance of establishing a platform for the career advancement of graduates.

Research limitations/implications

It is recommended that future research or replications among other samples should examine the perceptions of the academics on employability.

Practical implications

Based on the findings, specific implications related to employers, students and educational institutions were identified. The study offers new insights into the concept of employability by reclamation of the value of skills and personal attributes required at the workplace.

Originality/value

The paper addresses a foundation to support the “job‐readiness” and “employability” of business graduates as well as the development of industry‐relevant courses to improve the “employability” of business graduates.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 51 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

Gabriel Donleavy

Graduate attributes are about to be policed by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) in Australia. All universities proclaim them on their public web…

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1168

Abstract

Purpose

Graduate attributes are about to be policed by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) in Australia. All universities proclaim them on their public web sites. The aim of this paper is to determine whether distinct patterns or clusters are apparent in the declared graduate attributes declared by Australian universities on their web sites.

Design/methodology/approach

Work by scholars in the field of graduate attribute building is discussed, with particular reference to the tension between disciplinarity and attribute building and the relative failure of techniques so far espoused to demonstrate student attainment of graduate attributes. Some promising approaches to the serious problems of building and demonstrating graduate attributes are captured, and some recommendations for addressing the urgent and serious issues confronting the sector are put forward.

Findings

Graduate attributes of each university are publicly available and these can be related to discussions of employer satisfaction and university value systems. An inspection of the top five attributes for each cluster of universities reveals significant cross cluster variation.

Research limitations/implications

Content analysis of web sites is a crude instrument for gauging the real importance universities attach to their graduate attributes, even at the level of their discourse. Further research is needed on the isomorphism and decoupling going on with graduate attributes and employer expectations of universities.

Social implications

There are grounds for hope that universities have not completely forgotten their role in society in favour of their competitive market gameplays.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to display graduate attributes as ranked by clusters of Australian universities and by the whole sector; it is the first paper to link the accreditation risk from TEQSA with the relative vacuity of GA embedding processes to date.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2011

Salina Daud, Nurazariah Abidin, Noraina Mazuin Sapuan and Jegatheesan Rajadurai

This study seeks to investigate the potential gap between important dimensions of business graduates' attributes and the actual performance of these graduates in their…

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2635

Abstract

Purpose

This study seeks to investigate the potential gap between important dimensions of business graduates' attributes and the actual performance of these graduates in their post‐graduate employment. These graduates have completed a business‐related degree from the business management faculty of a higher education institution (HEI) located in Peninsular Malaysia. The dimensions of attributes and the performance of these graduates are considered in four broad areas, namely, knowledge, skills, abilities, and personality.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire seeking responses from managers reflecting their importance ratings of essential attributes for business graduates, and the corresponding performance ratings of the graduates in these attributes, was distributed to managers of all companies employing the graduates from the business school. Importance‐performance analysis was used to evaluate the managers' perceptions of these graduates and to determine their actual performance. The graduates' information was obtained from the records of the HEI's alumni.

Findings

The results of this study reveal that managers attach different weights to different aspects of graduates' performance. Therefore, curriculum development should be directed towards attributes that are expected of these graduates and are relevant to the needs of the market and industry. This will allow for corrective action to take place to improve perceived problem areas.

Research limitations/implications

Since this research is a case study of business management faculty graduates, future nationwide research could be carried out on graduates from all HEIs employed in different industries and involving different levels of management and employment to determine whether a consistent pattern is discernable.

Originality/value

There are only a few studies that have included employer research surveys with the intention of evaluating factors contributing to graduate performance and improving the business management curriculum of HEIs in Malaysia.

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2012

Irene Tempone, Marie Kavanagh, Naomi Segal, Phil Hancock, Bryan Howieson and Jenny Kent

The purpose of this paper is to determine the requirements of accounting graduates in relation to generic attributes. Employers have consistently maintained that graduates

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4049

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the requirements of accounting graduates in relation to generic attributes. Employers have consistently maintained that graduates are deficient in this area. This Australia‐wide, all‐sector study addresses the issue by examining what employers mean when they make demands for universities and academics to deliver work‐ready graduates.

Design/methodology/approach

Interviews (recorded, transcribed and analysed with NVivo) with employers, and accounting professional bodies were conducted to ascertain their views of their needs of accounting graduates into the future.

Findings

Employers held the generic attributes of communication, team work and self‐management to be the most critical for graduates in the three areas of recruitment, training and ongoing employment. Demands on universities to deliver work‐ready graduates are not homogeneous. Employers in different sectors construe the meaning of generic attributes in line with their specific needs.

Originality/value

The study was an original piece of work that gauged the opinions of professional accounting bodies and employers of accounting graduates across Australia and in all sectors of the accounting profession. The value of the study is to inform academics as to the ranked importance of generic attributes but also alert them to the different meanings that are assigned to these skills by employers in different sectors.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2002

Jane W. Moy and Sze M. Lee

To promote SME growth, it is essential to attract young, educated minds to work for them. Recent graduates often view employment in small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises…

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8275

Abstract

To promote SME growth, it is essential to attract young, educated minds to work for them. Recent graduates often view employment in small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) as a “second choice”, and prefer to work for multinational corporations )MNCs). This study uses a job attributes model to address the inability of SMEs to attract business graduates. The first part of the study investigates the importance of nine job attributes to graduates in initial job selections, and their perceptions of these attributes offered by SMEs and MNCs. The second part of the study reports that SME employer perceptions of the attractiveness of these attributes are very much different from those of the graduates. Finally, recruitment packages of SMEs and MNCs are compared, and attributes such as job security and long‐term career prospects are found to be better in SMEs, thus suggesting that SME owners must communicate more effectively with graduates.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 7 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Article
Publication date: 24 April 2009

Chenicheri Sid Nair and Patricie Mertova

The purpose of this paper is to present a framework that can be utilized in the design of graduate employer surveys carried out by tertiary institutions as a form of…

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1891

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a framework that can be utilized in the design of graduate employer surveys carried out by tertiary institutions as a form of monitoring their graduate attributes. It further aims to identify the potential issues and challenges that may be involved in undertaking such a survey.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes an approach to administering a graduate employer survey conducted at Monash University, Australia. The survey utilized a combination of means, involving telephone, e‐mail and mail‐outs. During a period of approximately four months, 2,753 companies were contacted and response was obtained from 464 of them. The survey instrument was based on 23 graduate attributes. In the course of the survey, employers were asked to rate graduate attributes in terms of importance and their satisfaction with the extent to which each of these attributes was demonstrated by Monash University graduates employed by the particular company. Open‐ended feedback was also sought from the employers.

Findings

Universities world‐wide have increasingly incorporated the development of the so‐called graduate attributes into their quality development mechanisms. One way of monitoring these graduate attributes has been through conducting graduate employer surveys. The paper presented a workable approach to collecting employer feedback, which may offer some guidance to other higher education institutions that may be considering introducing similar employer surveys. It also identified some of the issues and challenges involved in undertaking such a survey.

Practical implications

The paper discusses a number of practical limitations to administering an employer survey. These include the need for: a well‐sourced database of employers of the institution's graduates; established relations with industry and professional bodies; proper staffing and infrastructure; and awareness of timelines suitable for individual employers to complete such a survey. The implications for the university resulting from the limitations are that the leadership need to address these limitations in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the future iterations of the graduate employer survey. The limitations may also serve as guidance to other institutions concerning aspects they need to address when planning to conduct a similar survey.

Originality/value

Internationally, and certainly in Australia, there are very few higher education institutions that have well‐established graduate employer surveys. The Monash University graduate employer survey outlined here may offer some guidance to tertiary institutions considering conducting similar graduate employer surveys.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2077-5504

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2009

Darrall Thompson

The benefits of an educational shift to graduate attribute development have been foregrounded in the educational literature since the early 1990s. Attribute mapping in…

Abstract

Purpose

The benefits of an educational shift to graduate attribute development have been foregrounded in the educational literature since the early 1990s. Attribute mapping in documentation with no change to assessment constitutes a surface approach. This paper aims to use as an example a deep approach that uses software to facilitate staff and student engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

In 2002 the author developed online criteria‐based assessment software ReView, together with a process involving the constructive alignment of assessment tasks. This was used in an academic development context to assist staff to integrate graduate attribute development through the assessment of student work. The time‐saving features of the online software, colour‐coded feedback about attribute development and its facilitation of students' self‐assessment were significantly successful parts of this approach.

Findings

A time‐saving strategy using software as a facilitator can encourage change to assessment practices. The inclusion of discipline content as part of attribute‐related assessment criteria assisted staff engagement with a developmental approach to attributes. Top‐down directives need bottom‐up processes and both are assisted by factors such as external accreditation and course reviews.

Originality/value

The paper clarifies graduate attribute terminology issues and identifies problems with “top‐down directives”. It describes innovative online criteria‐based assessment software used to facilitate graduate attribute integration and student self‐assessment. Assessment processes that give students a progressive portrait of their attribute development are few and far between. This paper offers data about one successful approach to this issue.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 26 June 2009

Simon Housego and Nicola Parker

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the potential and the challenges of successful integration of ePortfolios and graduate attributes into the curriculum.

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1374

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the potential and the challenges of successful integration of ePortfolios and graduate attributes into the curriculum.

Design/methodology/approach

An argument is presented about the positioning of ePortfolios, and their links to graduate attributes, that draws upon the experiences of working with teachers to design, implement and support effective teaching practices to inform the challenges and opportunities that ePortfolios present for institutions, teachers and business curricula.

Findings

The potential of ePortfolios for supporting student learning must be balanced against the difficulties of embedding the necessary curriculum changes. Institutions expecting to see take‐up of ePortfolios by their teachers will need different strategies than those that accompanied the introduction of learning management systems.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is based on experiences in an Australian context and a small‐scale trial. The limited availability of studies of student learning and the longitudinal use of ePortfolios in the social networking Web 2.0 context are also limitations.

Practical implications

A range of potential uses of ePortfolios is considered with a particular focus on seeing their use from the whole‐of‐program viewpoint, with discussion of the limitations for curriculum if decisions about ePortfolio use are left entirely to teachers to decide.

Originality/value

The paper's value is in its argument about the potential for linking ePortfolios to an integrated curriculum by addressing a common problem with the process of embedding of graduate attributes, and in suggesting a role for changed assessment practices to make this possible.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 51 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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