argumentation, know-how, problem solving, skills, students, universities, assessment, generic skills, higher education teaching, polytechnics, education
The study investigated the level of Bachelor-level students’ generic skills, what factors are connected with the level of generic skills, and to what extent these skills develop during higher education studies. The assessed generic skills included analytic reasoning and evaluation, problem solving, writing effectiveness, and writing mechanics. The participants (n = 2402) were students at initial and final stages of their Bachelor degree programmes from seven universities of applied sciences (UASs) and eleven universities. According to the results, for nearly 60 percent of the higher education students, the generic skills were on a basic or lower level while for the rest, about 40 percent, these were on a proficient or higher level. The variation in students’ generic skills was explained mainly by factors pertaining to student’s educational and socioeconomic background. In addition, a cross-sectional analysis indicated that generic skills develop to some extent during the studies. Based on the research findings, attention should be paid to the learning of generic skills already at the lower educational levels and also in learning environments outside school. Moreover, the role of generic skills in student admissions should be investigated, and in efforts to develop generic skills in higher education, the different goals of UAS and university education should be considered and learning of generic skills supported in a goal-oriented fashion.