Assessment report on behalf of the BMBF on the „Assessment of Competencies among University Students and Graduates“

Time span: 05/2009 – 07/2009

Funding: Federal Ministry for Education and Research

Until today, higher education has been underrepresented in national and international empirical research. The many actions taken nationally in response to the PISA debacle in school education gave cause to hope for similar empiric research in higher education that would be the foundation for the implementation of customized reforms. However, the Bologna declaration has rather led to an education policy reform instead of a theoretical and empirical one.

Although complex multidimensional research on the “Assessment of Domain-specific and Generic Competencies among University Students and Graduates” (i.e. because of an international and intra-national diversity of study programs, structures and teaching efficiency) asks for the highest evaluation techniques, the challenge has to be met with regard to progressing international competition in order to create a competitive education system. The international context offers evidence of approaches to structural stabilizations in university research (i.e. the OECD’s feasibility study titled the “Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes” (AHELO)), which can be carried out at a national scale as well.

It is therefore necessary to bring together national and international experts from different fields to cooperate on a common multi-interdisciplinary method-integrating research project. Many tasks have to be carried out. These not only include the complex assessments of competencies such as psychological, didactical and statistical demands, but also intensive analyses of processes and structures in the ramified area of higher education and the state of research on other relevant topics (institutional variants, manifold scientific disciplines, diverse course structures, different societal and economic backgrounds etc.) and topical national and international research.

Therefore, preparations for the funding initiative “Modeling and Measuring Competencies in Higher Education” included a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the national and international state of research. A broad document analysis through literature and data research (including secondary analysis) was conducted and led to a progress report. Additionally, seven interviews with national and international experts from the relevant subject areas were held. On this basis, central research activities and research deficits could be identified, and preferences and opportunities for a successful research program could be developed.


Kuhn, C., & Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O. (2011). Assessment of Competencies among University Students and Graduates – Analyzing the State of Research and Perspectives. Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz: Arbeitspapiere Wirtschaftspädagogik [working paper: business education], 59.


Prof. Dr. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, Dipl.-Hdl. Christiane Kuhn

Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz

Chair of Business Education

Jakob-Welder-Weg 9 D-55009 Mainz

Phone: +49 (0)6131 39 22009

Fax: +49 (0)6131 39 22095