CHAPTER 3

Measuring and Developing Competence for Life

Measuring Soft Skill Competencies

Not too long ago, one of the authors attended a panel discussion session at a large national conference. The panel focused on communicating and verifying competencies learned in higher education. One panel member, a dean of a large and well-respected STEM program, commented that “you can’t assess soft skills.” What was even more surprising was that none of the other panelists or the moderator seemed to disagree. This illustrates the fact that, while leaders in higher education believe in the absolute importance of soft skills for success in job and life, they have resisted incorporating these important skill sets into curricula, often with the defense that ...

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