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Inaugural Lecture: Measuring ability in generic skills - should we and can we?

Thursday 1 February 2018, 6.30PM to 19:30

Speaker(s): Professor Tony Ward, Department of Electronic Engineering


In relation to generic skills, Higher Education faces two fundamental questions: Should we be measuring the ability of students?; and secondly if we should, can we? The talk starts with the "should we" by looking at a model of the student first employment transition and what industry declares it needs. Some current research into the analysis of job adverts tells an interesting story in terms of what skills are sought by industry and, more interestingly how level of ability is articulated. The talk then addresses the obvious question of what are the generic skills and discusses the complexities in terminology and definitions. It then turns to the second question of can we measure ability in generic skills and discusses issues of accuracy, reliability, rater bias and fatigue and certification in relation to public speaking as an examplar. The conclusion? Should we and can we? Come along and find out some of the things that affect our ability to answer these questions and do anything.


Speaker biography:  Tony joined the Department of Electronics on the 1st January 1993 as a lecturer in Business Management after 18 years in Industry as an electronic design engineer, technical manager and programme manager for a number of different companies in the UK and US. Within York he has held the position of Provost of Alcuin College and Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Enterprise. Externally he has been President of the European Association for Education in Electrical and Information Engineering and managed or participated in over 20 research projects. His research is in area of Engineering Education and Entrepreneurship with a specific focus on exploring the development and assessment of generic skills.

NB There will be a drinks reception in PT005A at 5.30pm. All lecture attendees welcome.



Location: PX001

Admission: is by free ticket only. Please book at

Administrative Enquiries:

Please contact Helen Smith, Admissions and Research Student Office, for more information.


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