Constructing the University Graduate Attribute Scale for Assessing Employability, Lifelong Learning, and Global Citizenship

Ming-chia LIN
National Tsing-Hua University, Taiwan
mjia398@gmail.com

Eric S LIN
National Tsing-Hua University, Taiwan
slin@mx.nthu.edu.tw

Abstract

A primary mission of worldwide universities is be accountable in promoting the desired success of graduates to the fullest. To take on this accountability, universities are often dedicated in equipping their graduates with adequate employability, lifelong learning skills, and global citizenship, particularly by developing a set of chosen values, knowledge, and skills that are deemed as common competences for all graduates. These competences are increasingly termed University Graduate Attributes (UGA) in higher education. This study attempts to develop a UGA scale (UGAS) for a university that is renowned for science-technology-engineering-mathematics in Taiwan. Firstly, the University’s mission was conceptualized into a few competences by first-tier college administration. Secondly, these competences were formulated into 14 item-measures of UGAS: Discipline-specific competence (3 items), generic competence (5), and socio-interpersonal competence (6). Finally, in a 3-month online survey, UGAS and college-education satisfaction item-measures were administered to undergraduates (n=1142; male=732) and post-graduates (n=1219; male=862). Construct validity of UGAS was substantiated by single-group confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) on the 3-competence structure, and by cross-group CFA that indicated strict measurement invariance in error-variances equality. Criterion-related validity of UGAS was substantiated by positive correlations with college-education satisfaction of both groups; with academic performances of the undergraduate. Being a valid measure, UGAS may serve as: (1) educational goals for college educators and administration to plan curricula; (2) qualification indicators for graduates and employers to seek satisfied employment; (3) achievement indicators for accrediting agencies and the public to examine how accountable the university is for enhancing employability, lifelong-learning inclination, and global citizenship of graduates.

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