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TRANSVERSE COMPETENCE 'CRITICAL THINKING' IN CIVIL ENGINEERING GRADUATE STUDIES: PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT

V. Yepes, J.V. Martí, F. Molina-Moreno

Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
Within the framework of the new graduate degrees linked to the European Convergence, and additionally to the specific qualifications of the academic degree, a group of transverse competences to prepare students in their access to the labour market once studies finished. In several courses of the graduate degrees of Civil Engineering and Public Works 10 conceptual elements, equivalent to transverse competences, have been selected for evaluation. The transverse competence known as ‘critical thinking’ was assigned to two courses of the second year; namely Construction Techniques and Construction Typologies. This competence is crucial for the engineer as part of his analytical skills in the face to face of the professional life. The featured communication represents the students’ perception with regard to of the critical thinking during the professional practice, and based on the construction processes and typologies. Hence, an anonymous survey about the significance of the critical thinking in their skills profile has been distributed. The poll consists of 11 questions to be rated on a Likert scale. The questions relate to activities that potentially foster the acquisition of the competence ‘critical thinking’. The evaluation of the former transferable skill has become a novelty within the graduate studies at UPV, and therefore needs a continuous improvement of the evaluation work along the subsequent academic years.

The methodology followed aims to extract how close the 11 activities are to one another. A factor analysis through principal components is used to identify the underlying variables or factors that explain the meaning of the correlations. A multiple regression model is proposed to explain the most correlational variables. Results have led the design of activities based on active methodologies for the assessment of the critical thinking.