The 7i Model of Graduate Attributes: Development and Applications for Assessment

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2020)
Title: The 7i Model of Graduate Attributes: Development and Applications for Assessment
Stream: Higher Education
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Gabi Lipan, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom


Graduate attributes (GAs) have always been an implicit part of higher education. In recent decades, however, universities worldwide have worked towards making them explicit, in an effort to clarify how they address demands to better prepare their students for work and active contribution to society. Thus resulted an abundance of lists of attributes and definitions, seemingly unique to every institution. Demonstrating or assessing the development of these attributes has, nonetheless, proven difficult. Our research focused on similarities and patterns of GAs between institutions. Using qualitative content analysis, we boiled down lists of attributes from universities across the UK into a model of GAs with clear descriptions which can serve as a common language for GAs. To give the model an easy to conceptualise structure, we grouped attributes into 7 distinct but inter-related categories. We then validated and refined the model using input from a wide variety of stakeholders (e.g. students, teachers, employers, government, educational developers). Now, our goal is to develop a new way of assessing graduate attributes. Behavioural markers have been used for decades to assess skills through observation in assessment centres or in non-technical skills training for medical staff and flight crews. This approach can be adapted to help in the assessment of those GAs that have until now eluded traditional forms of assessment. We aim to engage multiple stakeholder groups in the development of both positive and negative behavioural markers for a range of observable GAs in our model. This presentation will cover our findings to date.