Room for improvement – A study of overconfidence in numerical skills among British graduates

Hack-polay, Dieu and Igwe, Paul and Okolie, Ugochukwu Chinonso (2019) Room for improvement – A study of overconfidence in numerical skills among British graduates. Industry and Higher Education . ISSN 0950-4222

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Room for improvement – A study of overconfidence in numerical skills among British graduates
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Abstract

The experiment tested overconfidence in number skills among graduates and non-graduates. The data was collected at a residential management training programme for part-time professional students. Half had a degree and half did not. In the light of increasing research evidence about employers’ dissatisfaction with graduates’ basic skills, we set out to test whether graduate professionals overstated their numerical abilities compared to non-graduates. The experiment, conducted using E-prime, showed a significant interaction between level of qualification and overstatement of numerical abilities. The results support the hypotheses and showed that graduates rated themselves higher than actual abilities. Graduates’ performance in the test was not consistent with their confidence estimates. The findings are significant for rethinking higher education curricula which are currently under pressure to align with the needs of the economy. We advocate more inclusive and interpretive research for greater understanding of the issues to offer useful policy data and help higher education institutions (HEIs) prepare graduates for an ever dynamic workplace and decision-making. However, few experiments have tested the numeracy level of graduates to corroborate the narrative coming from the employers. This study, despite the limited sample, is a first attempt and can be a reference for
future wider studies.

Keywords:Overconfidence, Graduate employability, Numeracy, Manager development, Higher education, Skills
Subjects:L Social studies > L433 Education Policy
N Business and Administrative studies > N600 Human Resource Management
X Education > X990 Education not elsewhere classified
X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
X Education > X200 Research and Study Skills in Education
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:35975
Deposited On:16 May 2019 09:29

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