Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O. & Kühling-Thees, C. (2019). Study-related Domain-specific and Generic Competencies of Economics Students: Insights from a German-Japanese Study. Journal of Asia Pacific Studies (Waseda University, Japan), 35, 285–297.

The measurement of discipline-specific and generic student learning outcomes in higher education has played an internationally significant role over the last decade. The increasing importance of skills such as critical thinking and perspective-taking is uncontested internationally. Several studies reveal that different cognitive and non-cognitive skills are generally of enormous importance for study success in higher education. A current curricular analysis has confirmed for Germany as well as for Japan that the acquisition of both domain-specific and generic cognitive and non-cognitive skills as core teaching-learning goals and expected student learning outcomes in economics degree courses. The present study not only assessed the domain-specific knowledge of economics students but also a series of additional generic and non-cognitive skills that constitute the defined learning outcomes of economics degree courses according to the curricular analyses. Thus, we focus on skills that college graduates are expected to develop and that are important for life-long learning. The following survey in Japan was conducted in the context of a larger cooperation project between Japan and Germany. A total of 328 students from 14 different universities took part in the Japan-wide survey. The analysis show that students develop and improve their skills over the course of their studies. Therefore, positive skill development over the course of studies can be assumed. The results of this study indicate both a high significance awarded to these domain-specific and generic cognitive and non-cognitive skills by the students as well as significant deficits in the levels of these skills. These findings can be understood as a first indication that the skills are crucial for higher economics education according to curricular analyses, expert interviews as well as student surveys.