Polygon Created with Sketch. Home |

On test: Skills: summary of findings from HEQCO’s skills assessment pilot studies

Quality in higher education matters. Quality is achieved when graduates of Ontario’s colleges and universities master a rounded set of skills essential to success in their lives and careers. Quality is achieved when graduates enter the labour market with skills that support the needs of a modern, knowledge-based, fast-evolving economy. Given that graduates often end up working in jobs unrelated to their field of study, transferable skills are as much the responsibility of higher education as is traditional discipline-specific content. The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and 20 institutional partners conducted two pilots – the Essential Adult Skills Initiative and the Postsecondary and Workplace Skills project – to assess literacy, numeracy, problem solving and critical thinking using field-proven tests that were administered on a voluntary basis to first-year and final-year students. These pilot studies confirmed that the implementation of this kind of skills evaluation is entirely feasible on a large scale. The authors also witnessed a thirst among institutions to know more, and a willingness among students to participate.