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Skills Research: For Researchers

 WatCV team

WatCV project investigators: Jill Tomasson Goodwin, principal investigator; Katherine Lithgow, co-investigator; Jennifer Roberts-Smith, co-investigator; Joslin Goh, project statistician; Stephanie Verkoeyen, project manager. Full research team

WatCV began as a one-course research pilot in 2015.  Findings from this preliminary study suggested that structured ePortfolio reflections do in fact help co-op and non-co-op students better articulate their professional skills, even six months after course completion.

To test whether these results were generalizable, we broadened the study to include 22 courses, 45 instructors and teaching assistants, across all 6 academic faculties, varying class sizes (10-350 students), from first to final year, with varying instructional delivery formats (workshop, lecture, studio).  Over the 2016-2017 academic year, 1682 students (experimental group) received standardized assignment instructions, wrote three reflections, created a WatCV ePortfolio, and were graded with the custom-designed WatCV rubric (5046 reflections).  1716 non-WatCV students (2015-2016 academic year course registrants) made up the control group.

We sent out the census-style survey to 3998 experimental and control students six month after course completion. Based on the resulting data, our follow up research confirmed that the pilot study’s findings are generalizable: writing WatCV reflections helps both co-op and non-co-op students to articulate professional skills.

 Major findings include

  1. Students’ ability to articulate employability skills is not affected by their program (co-op versus non co-op)
  2. Students’ ability to articulate employability skills is not affected by their year of study
  3. Students’ ability to articulate employability skills is affected by their enrolment in courses that required STAR-reflection assignments

These findings suggest that universities should integrate institution-wide, course-level employability skills articulation assignments for

  • all students
  • in all years of study
  • in all programs, co-op and non co-op

banner for presentation

View the video of WatCV principal researchers as they outline their major findings. Researchers are invited to build on and extend these findings.