Graduate Attributes and Games

  • Matthew BarrEmail author
Part of the Digital Education and Learning book series (DEAL)


Graduate attributes are the skills and competencies that students are said to develop in higher education, over and above those related directly to their degree subject. They are typically aligned with the notion of life-long learning and, at university level, attributes such as critical thinking, communication skill, and adaptability are associated with graduates’ employability. This chapter describes how video games might relate to the development of graduate attributes, arguing that this is where the utility of games in higher education lies. However, if we are to make any claims about the development of graduate attributes at university, means of measuring gains in attribute attainment are required. Noting that such measurement is not straightforward, potential quantitative measures for a range of typical graduate attributes are discussed. However, attributes which are not readily quantified, such as those concerned with ethical and social awareness or reflective learning, are probably best explored by qualitative means. The chapter concludes by suggesting that, in the absence of quantitative measures, perhaps the most effective method of determining a person’s attribute attainment is simply to ask them.


  1. Barr, M. (2016). Using Video Games to Develop Graduate Attributes: A Pilot Study. In The University of the West of Scotland (Ed.), Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Games Based Learning (pp. 41–49). Paisley, Scotland, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  2. Barrie, S. C. (2004). A Research-Based Approach to Generic Graduate Attributes Policy. Higher Education Research & Development, 23(3), 261–275. Scholar
  3. Barrie, S. C. (2006). Understanding What We Mean by the Generic Attributes of Graduates. Higher Education, 51(2), 215–241. Scholar
  4. Barrie, S. C. (2007). A Conceptual Framework for the Teaching and Learning of Generic Graduate Attributes. Studies in Higher Education, 32(4), 439–458. Scholar
  5. Bell, B. S., & Kozlowski, S. W. J. (2008). Active Learning: Effects of Core Training Design Elements on Self-Regulatory Processes, Learning, and Adaptability. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(2), 296–316. Scholar
  6. Bethesda Softworks. (1994). The Elder Scrolls. Bethesda Softworks.Google Scholar
  7. Candy, P., Crebert, G., & O’Leary, J. (1994). Developing Lifelong Learners Through Undergraduate Education. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Australian Government Publishing Service.Google Scholar
  8. CD Projekt Red. (2007). The Witcher. Atari.Google Scholar
  9. Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. AAHE Bulletin. Retrieved November 4, 2013.Google Scholar
  10. Chong, A., & Romkey, L. (2012). Adapting Existing Assessment Tools for Use in Assessing Engineering Graduate Attributes. In Proceedings of the 2012 Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA12) Conference, Winnipeg, MB.Google Scholar
  11. Coetzee, M. (2014). Measuring Student Graduateness: Reliability and Construct Validity of the Graduate Skills and Attributes Scale. Higher Education Research & Development. Scholar
  12. de Corte, E. (1996). New Perspectives on Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. In S. A. Burgen (Ed.), Goals and Purposes of Higher Education in the 21st Century (pp. 112–132). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Drummond, I., Nixon, I., & Wiltshire, J. (1998). Personal Transferable Skills in Higher Education: The Problems of Implementing Good Practice. Quality Assurance in Education, 6(1), 19–27. Scholar
  14. Duran, R. L. (1983). Communicative Adaptability: A Measure of Social Communicative Competence. Communication Quarterly, 31(4), 320–326. Scholar
  15. Duran, R. L. (1992). Communicative Adaptability: A Review of Conceptualization and Measurement. Communication Quarterly, 40(3), 253–268. Scholar
  16. Ennis, R. H. (1993). Critical Thinking Assessment. Theory Into Practice, 32(3), 179–186. Scholar
  17. Ennis, R. H., & Weir, E. (1985). The Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test. Pacific Grove, CA: Midwest Publications.Google Scholar
  18. Ensemble Studios. (2002). Age of Mythology. Microsoft Game Studios.Google Scholar
  19. Epic Games. (2017). Fortnite. Epic Games.Google Scholar
  20. Facione, P. A. (1990). Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction. Research Findings and Recommendations. Fullerton, CA: Peter A. Facione.Google Scholar
  21. Facione, P. (1991). Using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test in Research, Evaluation, and Assessment. Millbrae, CA: California Academic Press.Google Scholar
  22. Facione, N. C., Facione, P. A., & Sanchez, C. A. (1994). Critical Thinking Disposition as a Measure of Competent Clinical Judgment: The Development of the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory. The Journal of Nursing Education, 33(8), 345–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fullbright. (2017). Tacoma. Fullbright.Google Scholar
  24. Gee, J. P. (2007). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  25. Green, W., Hammer, S., & Star, C. (2009). Facing Up to the Challenge: Why Is It So Hard to Develop Graduate Attributes? Higher Education Research & Development, 28(1), 17–29. Scholar
  26. Grim, A. M. (2010). Use of Situational Judgment Test to Measure Individual Adaptability in Applied Settings. Unpublished thesis. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.Google Scholar
  27. Haigh, M., & Clifford, V. A. (2011). Integral Vision: A Multi-Perspective Approach to the Recognition of Graduate Attributes. Higher Education Research & Development, 30(5), 573–584. Scholar
  28. Hambur, S., Rowe, K., & Luc, L. T. (2002). Graduate Skills Assessment: Stage One Validity Study. Canberra: Australian Council for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  29. Hello Games. (2016). No Man’s Sky. Hello Games.Google Scholar
  30. Hillis, P. (2005). Assessing Investigative Skills in History: A Case Study from Scotland. History Teacher, 38(3), 341–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hojat, M., & Gonnella, J. S. (2011). An Instrument for Measuring Pharmacist and Physician Attitudes Towards Collaboration: Preliminary Psychometric Data. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 25(1), 66–72. Scholar
  32. Hullman, G. A. (2007). Communicative Adaptability Scale: Evaluating Its Use as an ‘Other-Report’ Measure. Communication Reports, 20(2), 51–74. Scholar
  33. Kanungo, R. N., & Menon, S. T. (2005). Managerial Resourcefulness: Measuring a Critical Component of Leadership Effectiveness. The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 14(1), 39–55. Scholar
  34. Klein, S. P. (1983). Relationship of Bar Examinations to Performance Tests of Lawyering Skills. Santa Monica, CA: The Rand Corporation.Google Scholar
  35. Klein, S., Benjamin, R., Shavelson, R., & Bolus, R. (2007). The Collegiate Learning Assessment: Facts and Fantasies. Evaluation review, 31(5), 415–439. Scholar
  36. LeFort, S. M. (2000). A Test of Braden’s Self-Help Model in Adults with Chronic Pain. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 32(2), 153–160. Scholar
  37. Lievens, F., Peeters, H., & Schollaert, E. (2008). Situational Judgment Tests: A Review of Recent Research. Personnel Review, 37(4), 426–441. Scholar
  38. Maxis. (1989). SimCity. Maxis.Google Scholar
  39. McCroskey, J. C., & McCroskey, L. L. (1988). Self-Report as an Approach to Measuring Communication Competence. Communication Research Reports, 5(2), 108–113. Scholar
  40. McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (1995). Fundamentals of Human Communication: An Interpersonal Perspective. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press Inc.Google Scholar
  41. McWhirter, B. T., Burrow-Sanchez, J. J., & Townsend, K. C. (2008). Measuring Learned Resourcefulness in College Students: Factor Structure of the Self-Control Schedule (SCS). College Student Journal, 42(4), 1099–1109.Google Scholar
  42. Motowidlo, S. J., Dunnette, M. D., & Carter, G. W. (1990). An Alternative Selection Procedure: The Low-Fidelity Simulation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 75(6), 640–647. Scholar
  43. Moy, J. (1999). The Impact of Generic Competencies on Workplace Performance: Review of Research. Leabrook, SA: National Centre for Vocational Education Research. Retrieved May 10, 2013.Google Scholar
  44. Nicol, D. J. (2010). The Foundation for Graduate Attributes: Developing Self-Regulation Through Self and Peer-Assessment. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.Google Scholar
  45. Nintendo EPD. (2017). The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo.Google Scholar
  46. No Code. (2019). Observation. Devolver Digital.Google Scholar
  47. Ployhart, Robert E., & Paul D. Bliese. (2006). Individual Adaptability (I-ADAPT) Theory: Conceptualizing the Antecedents, Consequences, and Measurement of Individual Differences in Adaptability. In Understanding Adaptability: A Prerequisite for Effective Performance within Complex Environments (Vols. 1–0, Vol. 6, pp. 3–39). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  48. Pulakos, E. D., Arad, S., Donovan, M. A., & Plamondon, K. E. (2000). Adaptability in the Workplace: Development of a Taxonomy of Adaptive Performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(4), 612–624. Scholar
  49. Pulakos, E. D., Schmitt, N., Dorsey, D. W., Arad, S., Borman, W. C., & Hedge, J. W. (2002). Predicting Adaptive Performance: Further Tests of a Model of Adaptability. Human Performance, 15(4), 299–323. Scholar
  50. Richmond, V. P. (2002). Socio-communicative Style and Orientation in Instruction: Giving Good Communication and Receiving Good Communication. In J. L. Chesebro & J. C. McCroskey (Eds.), Communication for Teachers (pp. 104–115). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  51. Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1990). Reliability and Separation of Factors on the Assertiveness-Responsiveness Measure. Psychological Reports, 67, 449–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Romer, R., Ewell, P., Jones, D., & Lenth, C. (1995). Making Quality Count in Undergraduate Education. A Report for the ECS Chairman’s ‘Quality Counts’ Agenda in Higher Education (p. 34). Denver, Colorado: Education Commission of the States.Google Scholar
  53. Rosenbaum, M. (1980). A Schedule for Assessing Self-Control Behaviors: Preliminary Findings. Behavior Therapy, 11(1), 109–121. Scholar
  54. Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the Self. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  55. Sam Barlow. (2015). Her Story. Sam Barlow.Google Scholar
  56. Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale. In M. Johnston, S. C. Wright, & J. Weinman (Eds.), Measures in Health Psychology: A User’s Portfolio. Causal and Control Beliefs (pp. 35–37). Windsor: NFER-NELSON.Google Scholar
  57. Spitzberg, B. H., & Cupach, W. R. (1984). Interpersonal Communication Competence. Beverly Hills: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  58. Thomson, A. M., Perry, J. L., & Miller, T. K. (2009). Conceptualizing and Measuring Collaboration. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 19(1), 23–56. Scholar
  59. US Department of Education. (2006). A National Dialogue: The Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. Washington, DC. Retrieved April 21, 2019.Google Scholar
  60. Valve Corporation. (2007). Team Fortress 2. Valve Corporation.Google Scholar
  61. Watson, G. (1980). Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. New York: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  62. Wood, D. J., & Gray, B. (1991). Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Collaboration. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 27(2), 139–162. Scholar
  63. Zauszniewski, J. A., Lai, C.-Y., & Tithiphontumrong, S. (2006). Development and Testing of the Resourcefulness Scale for Older Adults. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 14(1), 57–68. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Computing Science EducationUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations