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Y.K. Kim, H.D. Song

Chung-Ang University (KOREA, REPUBLIC OF)
Core competencies are the essential knowledge, skills, attitudes, and other requirements that students need in order to become successful learners and employees in the field of their academic study, work and other aspects of life. Therefore, core competencies are considered an important outcome of higher education and developing students core competencies in higher education has been becoming an actual and critical issue in recent years.

This study investigated academic faculty perceptions of students’ core competencies in higher education. First, 10 core competencies were drawn from literature review and delphi meetings, then a questionnaire was developed. Second, an online survey were conducted during January and February, 2013. A total of 215 faculties in Korea responded to a questionnaire asking about improvement level and performance (application) level of students’ core competencies in teaching, counseling, and career guiding. Third, T-test and importance-performance analysis (IPA) was conducted to identify students’ core competencies need to be considered primarily.

The results of the analysis were as follows:
1. There was statistically differences between perceived improvement level and performance level of students’ core competencies. The scores of performance were lower than those of importance.
2. The results of IPA revealed that specialized knowledge, creative problem solving, convergent thinking, self-leading competencies was positioned on Quadrant 2 (keep up good work), while understanding of other cultures and cultural literacy was done on Quadrant 3(low priority).
3. There was the differences of the IPA results in consider of gender and major(faculty major: humanities & social sciences, natural sciences & engineering).

Female faculties confirmed that convergent thinking was positioned on Quadrant 3(low priority), while male faculties reported that convergent thinking was on Quadrant 2 (keep up good work). Faculties in humanities & social sciences revealed that specialized knowledge was included in Quadrant 1 (concentrate here) and IPA results by faculties in natural sciences & engineering demonstrated that specialized knowledge was on Quadrant 2 (keep up good work).

The IPA results indicate that elements in Quadrant 2(high importance/high performance) are expected to continue being maintained, while those in Quadrant 1(high importance/low performance) require urgent performance and thus need to be given top priority. Based on the results of this study, comprehensive strategies for improving students’ core competencies in higher education is needed to be provided to faculties.