The Role of Graduate Attributes in Higher Education. A Review of the Issues Associated with Graduate Attributes and the case for their Measurement

Dominic Mahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
152 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This literature review considers the role graduate attributes have to play in contemporary higher education (HE). Considering academic literature and reports from government and industry, it argues that there is currently a crisis in HE whereby the financial benefits of having a degree are overwhelmed by the financial burden of obtaining one. This crisis has its roots in the growing trend to perceive the value of HE as the means to the end of employment rather than as an end in itself.

Graduate attributes (the skills and competencies students are supposed to acquire over the course of their studies) have the potential to promote HE as an end in itself. However, in their current form they typically do not have strong theoretical foundations and are too heavily subject to the influence of industry. Furthermore, despite explicit claims that graduates display these characteristics, institutions do not normally measure the attainment of graduate attributes. For graduate attributes to become more useful and relevant, these issues need to be resolved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-369
Number of pages17
JournalInterchange
Volume53
Issue number3-4
Early online date23 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10780-022-09457-5

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.

This document is the author’s post-print version, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer-review process. Some differences between the published version and this version may remain and you are advised to consult the published version if you wish to cite from it.

Keywords

  • Graduate attributes
  • Student development
  • Higher education crisis
  • Purpose of higher education

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