30 SES 16 A, Assessing Key Competencies In Higher Education For Sustainable Development
The future needs change agents equipped with key competencies in sustainability to collaboratively address the challenges we face (Wiek, Withycombe, & Redman, 2011). While education programs have emerged at various levels focused on teaching for these competencies, there is as of yet no sufficient way to assess whether these programs are achieving their objectives. Traditional methods of assessment are generally seen as inadequate for measuring the more multi-dimensional and performance oriented competencies (Frey & Hartig, 2009). Therefore, new approaches are needed and much exploratory work in this direction has begun (Hartig, Klieme, & Leutner, 2007). While cases have been published on attempts to assess the impact of novel teaching and learning methods for the development of key competencies in sustainability, the focus has typically been on the pedagogical approaches and program design and little to no robust efforts have been made to comprehensively develop reliable and valid assessment instruments.
In order to carry out this needed task, Barth (2009)proposed a set of necessary steps. First, that the specific characteristics of the key competency construct be considered. Second, that the key competencies chosen for measurement have a strong theoretical and conceptual foundation. Third, that they be operationalized and described in detail. Fourth, that the balance between assessing the individual components versus the interactions between those components needs to be explicitly considered. Finally, he advises that it is “imperative to define and to empirically verify relevant competency levels and their effects on action in different context, and to test the adequacy of different approaches.”
This symposium brings together some of the leading efforts in assessing key competencies in higher education by building on the 2017 ECER symposium " Assessing Learning Outcomes of Education for Sustainable Development.” Contributors will present their efforts to develop robust and valid instruments for the assessment of key competencies and explore their generalizability for sustainability in higher education. Some of the specific questions to be explored include:
- What innovative approaches might be effective in assessing complex multi-dimensional constructs like key competencies in sustainability?
- What processes are effective for the development of robust and valid instruments for assessment of key competencies in sustainability in higher education?
- How practical are these instruments? E.g. are they generalizable to other programs; able to be deployed with minimal resources; fit into course schedules, etc.
The questions will be explored in different international and institutional contexts within higher education. This symposium will offer a clear contribution to our understanding of the current state of assessment of key competencies in sustainability. The diverse set of contributors from the United States, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom offers not just an overview of the current state of the field but a critical reflection of where it stands and the identification of key gaps in knowledge for future investigations.
Barth, M. (2009). Assessment of Key Competencies -- a conceptual framework. In World in transition - sustainability perspectives for higher education (pp. 93–100). papers.ssrn.com. Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2170811 Frey, A., & Hartig, J. (2009). Assessment of competencies. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 35(2–3), 55–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2009.10.001 Hartig, J., Klieme, E., & Leutner, D. (2007). Assessment of competencies in educational contexts. (J. Hartig, E. Klieme, & D. Leutner, Eds.). Cambridge MA: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1027/0044-3409.216.2.60 Wiek, A., Withycombe, L., & Redman, C. L. (2011). Key competencies in sustainability: a reference framework for academic program development. Sustainability Science, 6(2), 203–218. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-011-0132-6
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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