Assessing College Student's Soft Skills with a Multifaceted Soft Skill Metric

Open Access
Dai, Wei
Area of Honors:
Supply Chain and Information Systems
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Sandeep Purao, Thesis Supervisor
  • John C Spychalski, Honors Advisor
  • soft skill
  • soft skill assessment
  • soft skill metric
  • multifaceted soft skill metric
Soft skills, such as learning, communication (reading, writing and speaking), adaptability, self-management, teamwork, and leadership skills, while being widely recognized as extremely important qualifications to the workplace, still remain difficult to observe, quantify, and measure. Sandeep Purao, Professor of the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) initiated the idea of developing a multifaceted soft skill metric specifically designed to evaluate college students’ soft skill performance in his research study with Hoi Suen, Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology, and Professor Purao also developed a complete soft skill metric in a subsequent research. However, this soft skill assessment tool has not been examined or used by any researcher. This thesis, through a study of 89 subjects from four courses at the Pennsylvania State University, uses the metric to analyze the soft skill differences among four distinct subject groups: entry-level IST students, senior-level IST students, entry-level Business students, and senior-level Business students respectively; and examines the relationship between soft skill presences in students and several possible influential factors, including their GPAs, internship and project experiences, job offer statuses, and etc..