Over the last two decades, several concepts have been orientating and building the processes of globalization and Europeanization in the educational area. Among all of them, highlights the concept of competence (Anderson-Levitt, 2017; López-Gómez, 2016). In fact, within the international field of educational research, a vast literature has emerged oriented towards the concept of competence and its incorporation into curricula of all educational levels (Buscà, Ambròs and Burset, 2017; Nordin and Sundberg, 2016; Tahirsylai and Sundberg, 2018). And, according with Anderson-Levitt (2017), competence-based education (CBE) is mostly present in Europe.
The main antecedents of the CBE are the standards-based education reforms during 1990s that led to discourses on competence-based education, skills-based education and/or learning outcomes (Tahirsylai and Sundberg, 2018). In this way, competence became a global (european) concept, presented as as “key assumptions”, becoming the prescribed language for supranational policies and life-long learning (Halász and Michel, 2011). European Commission (2006) defined competence as the combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes that a person must have to successfully develop and participate in the knowledge society. In other words, competence is what a person knows, understands and can do, considering personal and social values.
The EU recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning sets out eight key competences, as a reference framework: Communication in the mother tongue; Communication in foreign languages; Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology; Digital competence; Learning to learn; Social and civic competences; Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship; and Cultural awareness and expression (European Commission, 2006).
In the Spanish context, current Educational Law (LOMCE, 2013) has involved many changes (LOMCE is an amendment to the LOE, Organic Law of Education). One of them is the modification of the eight "basic competencies" (LOE, 2006) of the curriculum, which become seven and to be called "key competences". LOMCE slightly renames some of the previous ones, unites the scientific and mathematical, and eliminates the "personal autonomy" competence to replace it with "initiative and entrepreneurship" competence. In consequence, the seven key competences considered by the LOMCE are: Linguistic competence; Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology; Digital competence; Learning to learn; Social and civic competencies; Initiative and entrepreneurship; Cultural awareness and expression.
This study forms part of the research project (EDU2016-78451-P) that currently develops in the Spanish context . This project aims to investigate which teacher competences are most necessary to facilitate learning of student competences to promote teacher training and improve the student´s transition to university (Domínguez, Levi, Medina y Ramos, 2012; Domínguez, Medina y López-Gómez, 2018). This contribution, specifically, intends to examine the secondary students' perceptions about the importance and perceived mastery of key competences, considering the project framework indicated above. The research questions (RQ) are: (1) What are the most important key competences from the perspective of secondary school students? (2) What are the key competences that secondary school students perceive more developed? and (3) There is correspondence between perceived importance and mastery of key competences for secondary school students?
 Project: "Development of competences and their impact on teacher training: harmonization of educational processes between secondary and university education" (EDU2016-78451-P), funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain).
To answer the research questions, in this contribution, we present a quantitative, exploratory and descriptive study focus on gathered the perceptions of secondary students regarding the importance of key competence and their perception of their development. The participants in this research are 108 secondary school students of two public Institutes of Secondary Education (IES) located in Andalucía Region (n = 70) and Madrid Region (n = 38).The 55.55% are women (n= 60). The distribution by study itinerary is the following: 50% study Science, 39.62% Social Sciences and 10.38% Humanities. Regarding the average of the students' marks, self-reported in the questionnaire, it is distributed as follows: between 5 and 7.5 (n = 62), between 7.6 and 8.5 (n = 32) and more than 8, 6 (n = 13). The instrument was a questionnaire specifically designed for this purpose. The questionnaire includes 21 items, grouped in 2 scales: (a) "teacher practice oriented to the development of key competences", which is filled by the students on a 4-point scale according their degree of agreement with the 14 items and (b) “importance and perceived mastery of key competences”, where students make two assessments in a 4-point scale: one about the importance they ascribed to each of the key competence, and another on the self-perception regarding their develop / mastery. The internal consistency coefficient showed that questionnaire is highly reliable. The questionnaire of this study was distributed during november 2017. The results were analyzed with an exploratory and descriptive approach with SPSS v24, in order to identify the most important key competences from the students´ perspective and to explore the perception that students have of their development.
The results showed, both from a global and disaggregated analysis by educational centers, interesting results that allow us to answer the research questions of the study. Concerning to the first (1) RQ, the students of the two schools highlighted the importance of the "learning to learn" and "linguistic" competences. They also emphasized the importance of the "Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology” (center A) and "cultural awareness and expressions" competence (center B). Another interesting (and perhaps surprising) result is that the least important key competence for students was “digital competence” (in both schools). Regarding the second (2) RQ, the results showed greater heterogeneity in the perception of students. For example, the students of the center A considered that the most dominated competences were the "Social and Civic" (2.95) and "linguistic" (2.87), while the students of the center B perceived that the most developed competences were: "Digital "and" “Cultural awareness and expression”. It is interesting to note that students' perception of less dominated competences refers to "learning to learn" (in both schools) and, in addition, “Initiative and entrepreneurship” competence (center A) and "Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology” (center B). Finally, concerning the third (3) RQ, the results indicated that one of the most important competences from the vision of students is "learning to learn" (in both schools) and, simultaneously, this competence is what students report as less dominated, from their perception. These results, which should be interpreted with special caution and considering limitations of generalization, will be discussed in ECER 2019 in order to fostering quality of secondary education from the competence-based education perspective, and especially considering the recent Recommendation of 22 May 2018 on key competences for lifelong learning (European Union, 2018).
Anderson-Levitt, K. (2017). Global Flows of Competence-based Approaches in Primary and Secondary Education. Cahiers de la recherche sur l’éducation et les savoirs,16, 47-72. Buscà, F., Ambròs, A., & Burset, S. (2017). Bibliometric characteristics of articles on key competences indexed in ERIC from 1990 to 2013. European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(2), 144-156. doi: 10.1080/02619768.2017.1281908 Domínguez, Mª. C., Leví, G., Medina, A. and Ramos, E. (2012). Armonización de competencias entre la educación secundaria y la universidad. Revista RIAICES, 1(1), 5-31. Domínguez, M. C., Medina, A., y López, E. (2018). Desarrollo de competencias en el primer curso de universidad: estudio de caso. Publicaciones, 48(1), 47–62. doi:10.30827/publicaciones.v48i1.7325 European Commission (2006). Recommendations of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (2006/962/EC). Official Journal of the European Union, 30.12.2006. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32006H0962 European Commission (2018). Council Recommendation of 22 May 2018 on key competences for lifelong learning (2018/C 189/01) https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32018H0604(01)&rid=7 Halász, G., & Michel, A. (2011). Key Competences in Europe: interpretation, policy formulation and implementation. European Journal of Education, 46(3), 289-306. Doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3435.2011.01491.x LOMCE (2013). Organic Law 8/2013, December 9, for the Improvement of Educational Quality, Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) nº 295 (10 de diciembre de 2013). http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2013/12/10/pdfs/BOE-A-2013-12886.pdf López-Gómez, E. (2016). En torno al concepto de competencia: un análisis de fuentes [Reflections on the concept of competence: a review of sources]. Profesorado. Revista de currículum y formación del profesorado, 20 (1), 311-322. https://recyt.fecyt.es/index.php/profesorado/article/view/49881/30506 Nordin, A.,Sundberg, D. (2016). Travelling concepts in national curriculum policy-making : The example of competencies. European Educational Research Journal, 15 (3). 314-328. Doi: 10.1177/1474904116641697 Tahirsylai, A., Sundberg, D. (2018). Competence-based Education Studies in Primary and Secondary Education: A Systematic Review 1997-2017. Paper. ECER 2018.
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