Expanding on “The Employable Graduate Framework”

I have been thinking recently about how I want students to interact with The Employable Graduate Framework which I produced a while ago. I use it in drop in sessions, group works, one-to-ones, longer term coaching and in curriculum design. All of this has got me into thinking how I would like students to interact with it. I recently came up with the idea of using a system similar to Maslow’s hierarchy or Bloom’s learning taxonomy to describe various levels of competency for students. I originally designed the framework as an assessment tool, I meant it to be for students to monitor and assess their progression in these areas. I have come up with five categories to describe student’s competency within the framework. These categories are to be applied for each section of the framework so students may be at different stages for some than for others. That said they is a universal skill underneath each category so students may find themselves at similar points across each level.

Understand

This is when someone gains an understanding of what one of the categories is about and is able to relate the category to other categories in a coherent manner. This is gaining an understanding of the definition of the category and an understanding on how this definition fits in to the overall framework.

Reflect

This takes this understanding and applies it to the individual. So it is being able to not just talk about self-awareness, industry awareness etc. in general but also being able to say “this is what my …. is like.” This should involve paying attention to individual examples of when the skills were used, to developing an evidential basis for reflection, and it should involve looking for patterns and so drawing conclusion from pieces of evidence.

Assess

Assessment involves looking at reflection and putting some sort of value upon it. This is taking qualitative information and trying to put a quantitative value upon it. Examples could be as simple as trying to identify areas of strength and weakness but this should develop into more nuanced assessment. This obviously will involve selecting an appropriate form of measurement. This measurement will create a way of seeing where someone is in the present and where they could move to in the future.

Develop

This sense of where someone is and where they could be creates a target for development. Develop looks at this and asks “where do I want to be” and “how could I get there?” This is about creating goals in the context of the framework and pursuing them. This will link in to looking at this goal in the overall context of the rest of the framework. As well as this it will also involve creating suitable strategies to pursue these goals and reflecting on how suitable these strategies are in practice.

Create (Paradigm Shift)

The final stage in the hierarchy recognises that all of the categories discussed so far are constructs. They define the shape of the analysis that follows. Any one of the items could be seen in multiple ways, concepts could be initially understood differently, reflections generated through different means, assessments made to different standards and developments made through different means. Because this is a process changes in the earlier stages will affect the later stages as a logical consequence.

In light of this creating is about making new ways of thinking through adjusting the content of the concepts. It recognises that many of these concepts can be viewed in different ways and that if the process delivers meaningful results or not will depend on these definitions. Creating therefore is about shifting the paradigm, challenging and revising the underpinning concepts that are used in these areas in order to try and leverage different results. Someone who is able to do this will be able to adjust and revise their understanding of these concepts over time and may become happy to use different definitions on different occasions to create different results.

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