Developing criteria to assess graduate attributes in students' work for their disciplines

Kate Chanock


After two decades, efforts to integrate the development and assessment of ââ¬Ëgraduate attributesââ¬â¢ into discipline curricula remain slow, uneven, and fraught with difficulties.à Scholars have identified political, cultural and practical reasons for academicsââ¬â¢ resistance to this requirement, including ââ¬Ëlack of ownership and shared understanding of how to teach and assess graduate attributesââ¬â¢ (Radloff et al., 2008). Along with Barrie (2007) and de la Harpe and David (2010), Radloff et al. (2008) have argued that ââ¬Ëacademic staff beliefs are critical and fundamental to any attempts at developing studentsââ¬â¢ graduate attributesââ¬â¢.

This article suggests that, rather than trying to change these beliefs via top-down mandates to adopt institutional attributes, it may make sense instead to start from academicsââ¬â¢ beliefs and see what attributes they suggest are actually integral to their cultures of enquiry. I reflect on such a process in the context of developing criteria and standards for assessing graduate ââ¬Ëcapabilitiesââ¬â¢ across the three years of a BA degree, in which a Faculty working party tried to tease out what we meant by ââ¬Ëgood writingââ¬â¢ into easily applicable criteria with authentic meaning(s) across our varied disciplines.


graduate attributes, generic skills, integrated, assessment, criteria, standards

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ISSN: 1759-667X