Comparing students’ perceived and actual competence in higher vocational education

L.K.J. Baartman, L. Ruijs

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    37 Citations (Scopus)
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    This article studies the relationship between students’ perceived competence – operationalised in self-efficacy beliefs – and their competence as assessed by the educational institute. Contrary to previous studies, the current study focuses on competence instead of on isolated knowledge and skills. Students (N = 169) in four subsequent years of a social work bachelor programme filled out a questionnaire. Perceived competence appears to increase during the four-year programme, with a dip in Year 3. This might be due to internships starting in Year 3, offering students a more realistic picture of the complexity of the work. Students appear to overestimate their competence at the start of the course, and underestimate it when leaving school. Because a slight overestimation of one’s competence is favourable to tackle complex tasks and persist during setbacks, curricula could pay more attention to realistic student perceptions of their competence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-398
    Number of pages14
    JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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