The Council for Aid to Education, Inc. (CAE), a leader in designing innovative performance tasks for measurement and instruction of higher order skills, announced a multiyear collaboration with the Finland Ministry of Education and Culture, expanding on a previous study that measured Finnish higher education students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and written communication skills (“generic skills”). 

Starting in 2023 and continuing through 2025, CAE’s performance-based assessments will be used to measure Finnish higher education students’ generic skills from 18 higher education institutions, with the goal of determining the factors that influence a student’s level of generic skills and how they develop during their studies. The results will help inform future policy and curricular decisions.

“CAE is honored that the Finland Ministry of Education and Culture has again chosen our assessments to gain a deeper understanding of the level of generic skills and the factors that can improve these skills for their higher education students,” said Bob Yayac, CAE president and chief executive officer. “Finland has one of the top education systems in the world and it continues to lead the way in improving student outcomes.”

The original project (KAPPAS), which occurred between August 2018 and July 2020, measured students’ generic skills and investigated the factors related to the level of these skills and to what extent these skills developed during their academic tenure.  

The second phase of the collaboration, known as KAPPAS2, is a continuation of the original investigation and includes a longitudinal component that will follow the same cohort of undergraduate students’ progress over three years of education. 

“Critical thinking and communication skills are essential for academic and career success, whether in Finland or throughout the international community,” said Dr. Jani Ursin, co-national program manager, University of Jyväskylä Finnish Institute for Educational Research (FIER). “Through assessment and measurement, we are excited to further strengthen these vitally important generic skills here at home while also demonstrating their value to our global education partners.”

CAE’s performance-based Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+), which will be administered in Finnish and Finland Swedish, situates students in real-world, complex decision environments where they must analyze and synthesize data, address important issues, propose solutions, and recommend courses of action to resolve conflicts – all critical skills most in demand by employers.  

“Our initial research identified some factors that were found to be related to the generic skills of undergraduates,” said Heidi Hyytinen, co-national program manager, Centre for University Teaching and Learning (HYPE), University of Helsinki. “We are excited to extend our collaboration with CAE, providing Finnish higher education institutions with even greater insight into these factors, which could help inform curriculum and policy to improve students’ generic skills.” 

All students will receive personalized reports and each institution will receive a summary report for all participating students. Overall study data and psychometric analysis will be provided to the National Program Team led by FIER and the University of Helsinki Centre for University Teaching and Learning (HYPE).

“It is our responsibility to provide higher education institutions the tools they need to support student success,” said Maarit Palonen, counsellor of education, Finland Ministry of Education and Culture. “Generic skills have proven to be an important determinant of student outcomes, so we are committed to ensuring they are taught and measured throughout students’ educational journeys.”

About CAE

As a nonprofit whose mission is to help improve the academic and career outcomes of secondary and higher education students, CAE is the leader in designing innovative performance tasks for measurement and instruction of higher order skills and within subject areas.

Over the past 20 years, CAE has helped 825,000+ students globally understand and improve their proficiency in critical thinking, problem solving and effective written communication. Leveraging best practices in assessment development, administration and psychometrics, CAE's performance-based assessments include the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) and College and Career Readiness Assessment (CCRA+). 

About Finland Ministry of Education and Culture

The Ministry of Education and Culture is one of the twelve ministries that form the Finnish Government. The Ministry of Education and Culture participates in the work of the Government by planning, outlining and implementing its policies. The Ministry prepares acts, decrees and decisions, and it is also responsible for the preparation of matters related to the use of budget funds. The mandate of the Ministry of Education and Culture covers: daycare, education, training, science and research, arts, culture, sports and youth work, the archival, museum and public library systems, church and other religious communities, student financial aid, and copyright. 

About University of Jyväskylä Finnish Institute for Educational Research (FIER)

The Finnish Institute for Educational Research (FIER) is a multidisciplinary centre for educational research, assessment, and development, based at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Its vast research experience, wide-ranging fields of study, and multidisciplinary approach - together with a significant body of researchers and publication volume - make the FIER a nationally unique and an internationally significant unit of educational research. The national task of the FIER includes investigating, assessing, and developing the Finnish educational system and school culture. Its research covers the entire educational system, from pre-school to higher education, and the links between vocational and academic education and working life.

About University of Helsinki Centre for University Teaching and Learning (HYPE)

The Centre for University Teaching and Learning (HYPE) at the University of Helsinki conducts research on active learning, psychosocial well-being, learning-centered teaching and changes in education in higher education as well as other educational contexts. The Centre supports study programs in the development of teaching and learning as well as provides the University of Helsinki staff with high-quality research-based training in university teaching and learning. The Centre conducts wide-ranging national and international collaboration in higher education, and in the development of teaching and learning. HYPE conducts cutting-edge research and creates new research initiatives in its field.