22 SES 06 B, Teaching, Learning and Assesment in Higher Education
In the last decade major organizational reforms have taken place in higher education all over Europe. In the academic year 2005/2006 University of Zagreb (Croatia) started with the new “Bologna” study program. New organizational changes also brought forward conceptual changes and shifts in approaches to educational outcomes. These approaches became competency-based and aim to identify, define and measure outcomes in terms of specific work-related constructs that are relevant to successful job performance (Kurz and Bartram, 2002). New curricula clearly state the competencies students should develop as a result of an educational program as well as a result of a specific course. At the same time different professional associations are defining learning outcomes and competencies students should have at the end of their education (ABECSW, 2002; APA, 2002; AIEJI, 2006). All these shifts led to our interest in competence research. Since competence is defined as a learned ability to adequately perform a task and encompasses professional knowledge, skills and attitudes, together with personality traits and abilities (Roe, 2002; Žižak, 1997), we wanted to study whether students, at the end of their education, feel they can successfully perform specific work-related tasks.
Therefore, in the year 2005 we started a longitudinal scientific project “Perceived Competence of Helping Professions Students” to measure perceived level of competence for future psychosocial work among cohorts of psychology, social pedagogy and social work students at the University of Zagreb. In the years 2005 and 2006 we conducted pilot studies (among 227 students - 88 psychology, 80 social work and 59 social pedagogy students) with the aim of defining psychosocial work competencies and developing the instrument for their measurement (Ricijas, Huic and Branica, 2006). In the years 2007-2009 we had the opportunity to include students graduating within the “old” study program and the students graduating from the “Bologna” bachelor study program. A total of 585 students (302 who finished the “old” program and 283 bachelor degree students) participated in these studies. Our findings showed different structure of competencies among “old program” students and bachelor degree students, as well as good metric characteristics of Perceived Competence for Psychosocial Work Scale - PCPWS (Huic, Ricijas and Branica, in print). This year, we shall have the opportunity to include master degree students and to directly compare the perceived competencies of “old program” students with the new master degree students, as well as to compare students after their bachelor and their master program.
1. ABECSW (2002): Professional Development and Practice Competencies in Clinical Social Work - A Position Statement of the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work 2. AIEJI (2006): A Common Platform for Social Educators in Europe - European Bureau of the International Association of Social Educators, Cild Youth Care Forum, No. 35, 375-389 3. APA (2002): American Psychological Association Statement Policy Statement on Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology, http://www.apa.org/practice/ebpreport.pdf. 4. Kurz, R. and Bartram, D. (2002): Competency and Individual Performance: Modelling the World of Work, Organizational Effectiveness: The Role of Psychology, I.T. Robertson, M. Callinan and D. Bartram (Eds); p. 227-255 5. Roe, R. A. (2002): What Makes a Competent Psychologist?, European Psychologist, Vol. 7, No. 3, 199-202 6. Žižak, A. (1997): Some Elements of Sociopedagogs' Professional Competence, Criminology and Social Integration, Vol. 5, No.1-2, 1-10
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