It is not all about good grades: the assessment of intellectual, personal and civic learning gain in higher educaiton

Project: Research project

Project Details


In higher education, study success is often measured by outcome-focused standards, such as grades, study pace, and study completion. Higher education tends to underrate the importance of learning as a process of intellectual, personal, and civic growth. This research project aims to counterbalance the focus on study outcome and promote a reappraisal of students’ learning curves. This perspective is beneficial to students because it encourages them to pursue growth rather than excellent grades only and, as such, mitigates the pressure to perform.

A broadly applicable tool, providing qualitative and quantitative insights, to assess the road students have travelled is not yet available to educational professionals. This ground-breaking research project endeavors to construct and implement two innovative instruments to assess students’ intellectual, personal and civic (IPC) learning gain in two related projects.

The first project constructs and applies a narrative interview. This qualitative instrument builds upon the psychological theory of narrative identity. The analysis of students’ narratives in selected Dutch academic programs teaches us how students conceptualise IPC learning gain in different programs and at different stages of their study and what factors enhance/hinder their learning gain. These insights are translated into practical advices for the enhancement of student learning.

The second project constructs and applies a quantitative instrument, grounded in the narrative data, using Mixed Methods–Grounded Theory. The project then analyzes Dutch students’ IPC learning gain in a longitudinal, multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary study. The quantitative tool is practical and designed to be used in all kinds of educational practices.
StatusNot started


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