Academic journal article Higher Learning Research Communications

Evaluation of Academic Competencies through Standardized Instruments: A Comparison of CompeUEM, LPA-Q, and ESCI-U

Academic journal article Higher Learning Research Communications

Evaluation of Academic Competencies through Standardized Instruments: A Comparison of CompeUEM, LPA-Q, and ESCI-U

Article excerpt


In this current knowledge and communication age, there is considerable concern for training people capable of adapting to the demands of the modern world (Fragoso-Luzuriaga, 2015). In the European Higher Education Area, universities have set as one of their main objectives the need to implement forms of education oriented toward the professional world and the needs of companies (Morgado, Peñalvo, Ortuño, & Hidalgo, 2013); the university-student-company alignment and learning by competencies are key to achieving this. In this context, the term competencies has undoubtedly been established permanently (Hernández, 2007), and educational institutions' awareness of the term will enable them to support their students in acquiring necessary means for their development (Barrientos Piñeiro, Silva García, & Antúnez Marcos, 2016). Several authors (Sánchez, Romero, & Hernández, 2017; Lázaro, León del Barco, Castaño, & Polo del Río, 2016) have described the skills of social interaction and digital competencies as key for students' performance in the professional world.

The incorporation of graduates into the professional world presents a number of difficulties. Moreno (2005) states that the European business community demands a range of personal attributes and competencies in hiring professionals from certificate, bachelor's, or graduate degree programs. For employers, obtaining employees and candidates with high levels of competencies is vital to their success (Alles, 2006) and to achieving rapid integration into their work teams, their organizational culture, and the job requirements of a position, thus bringing added value to the organization (Díaz Barriga, 2005). Therefore, company recruiters lay more importance on these types of general competencies in recent graduates than on other, more specific skills, such as English and informatics (OIE, 2014).

Official bachelor's degree programs implement a competencies model as one of the most innovative elements of the curriculum for introducing basic competencies and life skills (Casanova, 2016). The objective is to provide the student with an education suited to developing different skills needed to function appropriately in society (Jubany & Jurnet, 2016) and "to perform competently as part of the final product of the educational process" (Santos Rego, 2005, p. 8).

The assessment of competencies is used increasingly in the assessments that teachers make in their lesson plans and in the business sector. Currently there are not enough tools to show this type of evidence (Ruiz Morales, 2007), and the lack of standardized indicators in the evaluation systems does not help the teaching work (García San Pedro, 2013). For this reason, the use of suitable tests for specific objectives is more necessary than ever (Olea, Abad, & Barrada, 2010) as is the use of a common language, with a definition of criteria, indicators, levels, etc., of transversal skills (Corominas Rovira, Tesouro i Cid, Capell Castañer, Teixidó Saballs, Pelach Busom, & Cortada, 2006).

With regard to assessment techniques for workplace competencies, Gil Flores (2007) distinguishes between those techniques that mainly focus on personality traits, which are based on the behaviors of people in the workplace, and techniques that combine the collection of data from the above with assessments made by the workers themselves and other members of the organization.

However, despite the great relevance of these competences in the academic world, there is no consensus among the different evaluation systems. The same happens with personality studies. There is no common model agreed upon by the scientific community that enables the establishment of a coherent and shared model. Thus there are models and instruments that evaluate competences in differet ways. In the field of education, there is a wider range of evaluation techniques, from formal to semi-formal to informal systems. …

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