College will evaluate ‘soft skills’

“Soft skills,” such as punctuality and teamwork, will be factored into grades and “work readiness” certificates at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in North Carolina. Employers have complained that graduates have technical skills but lack knowledge of workplace norms.

That reminds me of yesterday’s post on a McKinsey report that found a mismatch between teachers’ estimation of their students’ skills and employers’ expectations. (No, that doesn’t mean teachers are “stupid,” as one comment writer insists. It means teachers  and employers aren’t communicating.)

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  1. I never graded based on punctuality or attendance, but if you looked at the grades that my students earned on tests, you could get a pretty accurate idea of who was in class on time, still there at the end, and did the homework.

    • I would agree with that…the students with the best grades (generally) were the ones who were on time to class, always had their homework done, and came prepared to pay attention in class…sounds like something which should be done as part of the regular school day.

  2. Unfortunately, the ed world (politicians and admins certainly, and some teachers) wants equality of outcomes (grades); hence the push to allow repeated do-overs, too many homework points, extra credit, participation grades, attendance points etc. In the work world, one is judged on one’s behavior and the ability to meet deadlines with a quality product. Just “trying” is not good enough. Too many excuses are allowed for late, sloppy or incorrect work and disrespectful behavior. My parents used to tell me that school is my job and it better be done well, or else – and it worked on my kids, too.

    • For high school at traditional college students, I’d agree. At a CC, most of the students are part-timers with jobs and families. I learned that I could be generous with extra time because it didn’t help…the good students only needed extra time/late tests in a situation that would also have gotten them a day off from work (having a baby, child having surgery, appendicitis) and for a slacker, the extra time didn’t help because they didn’t study. I once had a student, a nurse’s aide studying to be a nurse, come barreling into lab late saying that a patient had coded and he couldn’t get away until they were stabilized. I told him that was the best excuse I’d heard for being late and let him take his quiz after class. It was the only time he was late all semester, and he got the same B that he always did.

      I found that, over 5 years of teaching, I never had a student come to class and do the homework (worth a small number of points, but good practice) who didn’t pass the class with a C or better.