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​​​​Assessing Basic Cognitive Skill Development and Transferable Life Skills in College Students from Admission to Graduation

Project contacts: Jackie Pichette (HEQCO) and Tim Fricker (Mohawk)


There is much more to the postsecondary experience than the content and concepts taught in the classroom. Course grades and credentials only tell part of the story of what has been learned and which skills have been developed.

This project aims to provide a more complete picture of a Mohawk college graduate by constructing a graduate profile of students’ basic cognitive skills (reading, writing and numeracy), critical-thinking skills and transferable skills (such as motivation and confidence). While students enter a college program already having had significant exposure to things like reading, writing and mathematics, these skills continue to change over the course of their college experience, and this project will investigate the degree of that change and how it might be tracked and accounted for over time. 

The good news is that structures are already in place to collect data on the student experience. At Mohawk, most incoming students complete a series of assessments (reading, writing and/or mathematics) and a Student Entrance Survey before starting classes. This project will expand upon this process, replicating these and other assessments in students’ final semesters, in order to discover more about the development of key skills that support future learning and employment across college programs.

As the job market continues to evolve and postsecondary educational institutions figure out how best to prepare students for this change, some have questioned the value of higher education. Studies like this one that attempt to zero in on the ways students develop and evolve — rather than simply looking at the classes they take and the grades they earn — could be an important part of demonstrating the value of a diploma or degree.

For more information, please visit the College Student Success Innovation Centre website​.
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Materials and Outcomes


​Throughout the course of this project, updates and final reports will be posted here.​