Joint Skills Statement to Research Development Framework

PROSE (Postgraduate Record Of Student Experience) is a tool we are developing at the University of Leicester. The tool is designed to enable Postgraduate Research Students to keep a formal record of all the training they undertake whilst at university, collaborate with their supervisor and carry out a self analysis skill audit. The later (skills audit) was originally developed around the Joint Skills Statement, it enabled the students to assess themselves against the statements on a likert scale. Here is the audit:
Developing Research Skills

In the PROSE system the University Colleges could add subject specific statements to the audit.

For each of the statements the students choose the appropriate option from this likert scale:

  • I am not at all skilled in this
  • I have a little skill in this.
  • I have some competence in this but need to improve
  • I have a good level of skill in this but need to improve
  • I am an expert in this and could train others in it

On submission of the audit the students are presented feedback with links to Student Development and Vitae resources and workshops they may wish to attend to help them develop their skills.

However in 2010 Vitae and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) agreed to update the Joint Skills Statement and created the Research Development Framework (RDF). This has converted the previous seven statements into four ‘Domains’, each of which contains three ‘sub-domains’. The RDF also covers skills required beyond the PhD, up to career level researcher.

Vitae RDF diagram
Vitae RDF diagram

Vitae has written some helpful support documents that explain the RDF:

  • The Research Development Framework cross-references all the skills required for each (sub)-Domain. These are divided into 5 Phases, my interpretation of the Phases suggest; Phases 1-3 represent the skills required up to the completion of the PhD, Phase 4 is early careers researcher and Phase 5 is further career.
  • The Comparison of the Joint Skills Statement with the Researcher Development Framework maps the JSS statements against the RDF Domains, however as you can see from this document there are a number of gaps, this due to the enhancement of the RDF.
  • Vitae have also created a CDP tool, a sophisticated Excel workbook that enable students to map the level they believe they are at and record achievements against the Domains. This is a useful mapping tool, however it doesn’t offer the feedback that PROSE does.

The decision from here for PROSE is how to create this much larger RDF as a self-audit. Previously we had seven audits, one for each section of the JSS, each contained six questions. The options for the RDF are:

  1. Four audits that contain a large number of questions. Having a large number of question may be off putting and students may not engage.
  2. 12 audits one for each Sub-Domain, having a large number of audits may mean students may not engage with all of them.

Further development will also be required to map feedback against the sections of the RDF that don’t map against the JSS.

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