22 SES 13 B, Engagement and Educational Reform
With the global paradigm shift from teacher-centered to learner-centered university education, interest in what undergraduate education can achieve has grown. Since 2007, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been conducting, in collaboration with ten major countries including Korea and Japan, a feasibility study on the Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcome (AHELO). In Korea, the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training (KRIVET) has developed tools widely used in local universities to evaluate the core skills of undergraduate students. These assessment projects have focused more on generic skills that can be demonstrated regardless of major than on pinpointing students’ discipline-specific skills.
American researchers have assumed the leading role in examining the extents to which such skills are developed through university education and determining which factors affect their development. Recently, university surveys have been carried out in Asian countries at the national level, based on the long-term research findings of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) at Indiana University. With the help of the data collected, researchers are beginning to explore factors that influence the development of university students’ generic skills (Rhee & Choi, 2008; Choi et al., 2009; Kim, Go & Kim, 2012). However, most of these surveys have been limited to the domestic sphere; those relatively few that have undertaken international comparisons have done so only between the country of origin and those in the United States.
The aim of the present study was to compare the factors affecting generic-skills development across Korean and Japanese students, with an emphasis on student engagement. In doing so, it examined whether the key influential factors in American university education are applicable to universities in Korea and/or Japan (both of which, notably, are rooted in Confucian culture).
This study utilized survey data collected in 2017 from Korean and Japanese undergraduate students. The Korean sample consists of 200 students and the Japanese 580 students. The survey questionnaire asked about campus life, career plans, career achievements, self-concept, work ethic, learning activities, university satisfaction and other aspects, and included a considerable number of questions designed specifically for comparison of the skills and learning activities of the three groups of undergraduate students.
The findings are that although most of the factors affecting Korean and Japanese student outcomes were similar as a whole, some were different. Japanese students reported faculty-student interaction having a significant effect on student learning outcomes while Korean students suggested it was not significant. Active learning showed a significantly positive association with learning outcomes with Korean students but not for Japanese students. The findings of this study not only highlight considerable differences in the factors determining generic-skills development for Korean and Japanese students, but also point to several key implications regarding the benchmarks widely used in American and European universities to improve undergraduate education.
Choi, J., Kim, M., Yi, P., & Lee, E. (2009). Research on the strategic participation in OECD AHELO project for enhancing the higher education competitiveness. Korean Educational Development Institute. Kuh, G. D., Kinzie, J., Buckley, J. A., Bridges, B. K., & Hayek, J. C. (2006). What Matters to Student Success: A Review of the Literature. Commissioned Repot for the National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success: Spearheading a Dialogue on Student Success. OECD. (2010). The Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes. Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How College Affects Students: A Third Decade of Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Pike, G. R., & Kuh, G. D. (2005). A typology of student engagement for american college and universities. Research in Higher Education, 46(2), 185-209. Rhee, B., & Choi, J. (2008). Analyzing influences on the perceived development of core competencies of college students: A multilevel approach. The Journal of Korean Education, 35(2), 243-266. Terenzini, P. T. (1997). Student Outcomes Information for Policy Making: Final Report of the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative(NPEC) Working Group on Student Outcomes from a Policy Perspective. Washington DC: US Department of Education National Center for Educational Statistics.
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