MAPPING THE IMPACT ON HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT: A STUDY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GENERIC SKILLS AND ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE AMONG HONG KONG ASSOCIATE DEGREE STUDENTS

C.H.J. So, S.F.H. Lai, D. Lam, Y.L. So

Hong Kong Community College (HONG KONG)
Research into the correlation between academic discipline and the development of generic competencies and knowledge among students has been relatively thin especailly at the sub-degree level. In order to assist tertiary institutes in better assessing curriculum design and student affairs services, it is worthwhile to explore whether some generic skills are the pre- determinant factors that foster their interest in certain academic areas thus influence their decisions on program choices, or, on the contrary, some generic skills have been nurtured through their academic training in accordance to the nature of their academic discipline.

The present paper attempts to examine whether students have already possessed certain kinds of generic skills by the time when they commence on their tertiary studies, with the focus on the difference between “science” & “non-science” students. This study employs a set of self-assessment inventory—the Self-Assessment of All-Round Development (SAARD) Questionnaire, a 7-point Likert scale self-assessing questionnaire which consists of 56 items, and explore the correlation between 14 generic competencies and academic disciplines among freshmen. A total number of 1587 students who had started their first year of a 2-year associate degree program within 3 months during the 2010/11 academic year had completed the SAARD questionnaire. Known groups validity was explored to test the hypothesis that two subgroups of students from two major academic disciplines (“science” & “non-science”) would report significantly higher scores on some of the subscales of SAARD. Independent Samples t-test was used to analyse the mean scores in SAARD between two subgroups. The findings support our hypothesis that academic disciplines have positive correlation with different kinds of generic skills among students when they begin their studies, as the mean scores of different generic competencies were found significantly different between two academic subgroups. This paper concludes that further investigation into the relationship between academic disciplines and genetic competencies would be beneficial, and more detailed analysis between different kinds of academic field is suggested.