How do students of health sciences perceive generic skills?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: Generic skills have been an area of increasing focus within higher education over the last three decades. The importance of generic skills for the preparedness for work is well-reported in the literature—from perspectives of policymakers to those of employers and graduates—to cope in the rapidly changing, complex, uncertain and highly competitive employment sector. A growing body of literature, however, suggests a mismatch between what higher education is producing and employer expectations. The key purpose of this ongoing study was to engage students in the process of self-assessment and reflection to complement and enhance their generic skills development.
Summary of work: We used a self-assessment tool, as form of an online questionnaire, incorporating a validated set of industry-demanded skills (10 skills with 40 associated behaviours). The questionnaire asked students to indicate their current ability to perform each of the behaviours and how well the university studies contributed to developing these behaviours. Students were provided with a copy of their responses so that they can reflect on it at a later stage of their degree and discern any changes in these skills. This process is expected to prompt students to self-reflect on their capabilities and further engage with developing these skills.
Summary of results: Initial findings, based on 143 student responses, suggested students’ awareness of the industry expectations that their capability to perform the generic skills would be more valued than their academic grades. Students viewed having some capabilities to perform the skills as well as those were developed to some extent within their study. There was a positive correlation between their perceived university study contribution to the development of skills and the perceived capability to perform those skills. However, comparing with their perceived capabilities students viewed that their university studies made limited contributions to the development of those skills.
Take-home messages: The study provides evidence for the need for greater focus on the development of generic skills as part of better preparation for students for future work. Results also suggest to include explicit and integrated generic skills objectives into curricular design against which students’ progress can be monitored.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventOttawa Conference 2020: Assessment of health professionals and evaluation of programmes: Best practice and future development - Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 29 Feb 20204 Mar 2020 (OTTAWA 2020 Abstract Book)


ConferenceOttawa Conference 2020
CityKuala Lumpur
Internet address

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