Work placement reflective assessments and employability enhanced through highlighting graduate attributes.

Julie Dunne

Abstract


This study investigated the effect of activities to promote awareness of specific prioritised graduate attributes on the quality of reflection displayed in pharmacy student work-placement reflective blog assessments.

The paper focuses on the results from a thematic analysis of reflective writing assisted by NVivo software from a control and research group, using the a priori codes of ‘reflection’ and ‘graduate attributes’, as part of a Participatory Action Research study.

The findings show an increase in reflection associated with graduate attributes in the research group compared to the control group. More importantly, there is evidence of an increase in the variety of graduate attributes being discussed by the research group, with the specifically prioritised attributes featuring most frequently. Additionally, the research group were much more likely to explicitly identify the skill or attribute by name.

This shows that activities that emphasise graduate attributes within a curriculum in advance of entering an internship or work-placement can help students by providing a focal point to frame their work-placement experiences in their reflective assessments. Students have an increased tendency to frame their placement experiences in terms of graduate attributes, as well as core skills developed in the curriculum. This consequently broadens their reflection and advances their employability, particularly initially securing employment, through improved articulation and evidencing of their transferable skills. It also provides a means of assessing the development of graduate attributes, which is a challenging but necessary academic task in a modern professional curriculum.

 


Keywords


Graduate attributes, Work-placement, Reflective assessment, Thematic analysis, Employability, blog assessment

Full Text:

PDF

References


Baldwin, M. (2012). Participatory action research. London: SAGE.

Boud, D. J., Keogh, R., & Walker, D. (1985). Reflection: Turning Experience Into Learning: Kogan Page.

Boudreau, J. W., Boswell, W. R., & Judge, T. A. (2001). Effects of Personality on Executive Career Success in the United States and Europe. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 58(1), 53-81. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jvbe.2000.1755

Chretien, K., Goldman, E., & Faselis, C. (2008). The reflective writing class blog: using technology to promote reflection and professional development. J Gen Intern Med, 23(12), 2066-2070. doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0796-5

Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor (NEO-FFI) Inventory professional manual: Odessa, FL: PAR.

DIT. (2013). DIT Graduate Attributes. Retrieved from http://www.dit.ie/lttc/aboutthelttc/lttcspotlight/ditgraduateattributes/.

Dunne, J. (2015). Participatory Action Research: Effect of Emphasising Graduate Attributes on Work-Placement Reflection. (MA in Higher Education), Dublin Institute of Technology Dublin.

Dunne, J., & Ryan, S. M. (2016). Enhancing Professional Development and Supporting Students on Work-Placement by Peer-Peer Learning Using an Online Reflective Blog Assessment. Irish Journal of Academic Practice, 5(1), 1-25.

Hillage, J., & Pollard, E. (1998). Employability: developing a framework for policy analysis. Retrieved from London

Horton-Deutsch, S., & Sherwood, G. (2008). Reflection: an educational strategy to develop emotionally-competent nurse leaders. Journal of Nursing Management, 16(8), 946-954. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2008.00957.x

Hughes, C., & Barrie, S. C. (2010). Influences on the assessment of graduate attributes in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35, 325-334.

James, B., Lefoe, G., & Hadi, M. (2004). Working ‘through’ graduate attributes: a bottom up approach. Paper presented at the Transforming Knowledge into Wisdom: Holistic Approaches to Teaching and Learning. HERDSA.

Kennedy, R. (2007). In-Class Debates: Fertile Ground for Active Learning and the Cultivation of Critical Thinking and Oral Communication Skills. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 19(2), 183-190.

King, N. (2014). Template Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.hud.ac.uk/hhs/research/template-analysis/

Kori, K., Pedaste, M., Leijen, A., & Mäeots, M. (2014). Supporting reflection in technology-enhanced learning. Educational Research Review, 11, 45-55.

Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1993). The intelligence of emotional intelligence. Intelligence, 17(4), 433-442. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0160-2896(93)90010-3

Nicol, D. (2010). The foundation for Graduate Attributes: developing self-regulation through self and peer assessment. Retrieved from Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education: http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/themes/21stCGraduates/outcomes.asp

Oliver, B. (2015). Assuring Graduate Capabilities. Retrieved from http://www.assuringgraduatecapabilities.com/

Por, J., Barriball, L., Fitzpatrick, J., & Roberts, J. (2011). Emotional intelligence: Its relationship to stress, coping, well-being and professional performance in nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 31(8), 855-860. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2010.12.023

Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (2008). The Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice (2 ed.). London: Sage.

Smith, K., Clegg, S., Lawrence, E., & Todd, M. J. (2007). The challenges of reflection: students learning from work placements. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44(2), 131-141.

Toland, A. (2011). HE STEM Employability Skills Review. Retrieved from Birmingham:

Treleaven, L., & Voola, R. (2008). Integrating the development of graduate attributes through constructive alignment. Journal of Marketing Education, 30(2), 160-173.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2017vol8no1art616

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.