Generic Capabilities For Lifelong Education: Conceptualization And Construct Validity

Year: 2007

Author: Yeung, Alexander Seeshing, Liu, Winnie Puiling, Ng, Christina

Type of paper: Refereed paper

To facilitate lifelong learning, recent education reforms have emphasized the development of generic capabilities. However, despite various lists found in previous studies, generic skills and capabilities have neither been well defined nor statistically validated. The present study attempted to (a) conceptualize generic capabilities in terms of 3 dimensions--cognitive, academic, and self, and (b) test the construct validity of generic capabilities using confirmatory factor analysis. Students who attended a continuing education program that was designed to provide an alternative pathway for students who failed in the Hong Kong secondary school system to pursue continuing education (N=2,806) responded to 13 survey items about their generic capabilities before the program (Time 1) and 13 parallel items after it (Time 2). Results supported a multidimensional structure of generic capabilities with the three dimensions at each time point. The conceptualization of a multidimensional structure provides a useful framework for the study of generic capabilities. It also calls for attention to the importance of generic capabilities in curriculum design.