Kompetenzorientierte Prüfung kommunikativer Fähigkeiten von Studierenden


The research group focuses on the construction of a test setting for the performance-based assessment of communication skills, more specifically of students of economics and teacher-training. Using Habermas’ (1984) theory of communicative action and the distinction between strategic and communicative action, the conceptual elements corresponding with the respective communication types, i.e. strategic and understanding-oriented communication, were extracted. These elements were incorporated in simulated communication situations (role play), which correspond with either a strategic or with an understanding-oriented communication type; and in the construction of a standardized instrument for the observation-based assessment of communication skills. The complex situations are tightly coupled to the respective demands of the professional field, as obtained from a German nationwide survey of graduates. A total of 32 role plays were constructed: 16 for each group, 8 with a strategic and 8 with an understanding-oriented layout. The role play scenarios are being currently piloted in two courses at the University of Kassel. Video-recordings thereof will serve as training material for confederates (i.e. standardized interlocutors) and raters assigned with the task of the observation-based assessment. Role plays are to be tested and standardized to the respective populations (500 students) in autumn 2016 in 11 randomly selected Higher Education institutions throughout Germany.

Aims and Research Questions

Measuring competencies in higher education has largely been neglected in international empirical education research, despite the increasing importance of tertiary education to society” (KoKoHs, 2016). Additionally, performance-based assessments of competences gain increasingly in importance for skill and competence measurement. This is the case for generic, cross-domain competences, such as communication skills that are explicitly referred to as an important outcome of higher education in national and international qualification frameworks. The current research project attends to the need for performance-based assessment of communication skills in Higher Education and aims at the construction of a theoretically founded psychometrically sound test setting that that can be efficiently employed in the HE context for this purpose.

Project data

Project Management:
PD Dr. Edith Braun
Project team members:
Dr. Georgios Athanassiou (Dipl. Psych.)
Kathleen Pollerhof (M.A. Sociology)
Svea Gockel (B.A. Political Science/Scandinavian Studies)
INCHER (International Centre for Higher Education Research)
Mönchebergstr. 17
D - 34109 Kassel
June 2014 – May 2017