Tools and Reports

 

Overview

Below you can find the most current versions of the  Guiding Tools, the Reports and the Manual and Approach document, which are the most tangible and publicly accessible outputs of the project.

A good starting point is either the “Mastermind Europe Approach” document, or the Mastermind Manual which both give you a brief presentation about the project background, research and the resulting outcomes and publications. The Manual was designed to provide hands-on guidance for Master’s coordinators to conceptualise new and improve existing Master’s admission processes. 

For more in-depth information on a coherent admission approach for a diverse international classroom, the Guiding Tools give an overview of both practice and research on the various aspects: Subject knowledge, Academic competencies, Personal competencies, Language requirements, Admission management, and Coherent admission in general. The core Guiding Tools that focus on one category of admissions criteria present a conceptual framework, an overview of existing mechanisms to test for them, an assessment of pros and cons and further literature.

You can find more information on the literature and other sources that we used in the Repository.

The Mastermind Europe project yielded three reports strengthening the evidence base of the increasing diversity of Master’s applicants and the needs and opportunities to adapt admission accordingly.

The first one is an overview and analysis of the various developments in higher education and in the world at large, which explain the increasing diversity in students and programmes and explain why society and the economy need our Master’s classes to be diverse and international and why our admission needs to depart from the recognition paradigm.

The second one, the Evidence Report  is based on survey input from more than 350 Master’s coordinators as well as more than 2,200 international Master’s students and informs about facts on Master’s admission as well as perceptions among key stakeholders.

The third report focuses on – perceived – legal and regulatory obstacles to adapt admission to an approach based on the assessment of competencies rather than equivalence of diplomas

In the context of the 2016 Wageningen Competence Conference Mastermind Europe experts produced 4 coherent ‘Wageningen articles sketching the progress of the project up to Mid 2016’.

For more information about the Guiding Tools and Reports, please use the tabs above.

Guiding Tools

The Mastermind Europe project has resulted in six Guiding Tools – alongside three Reports and two introductory papers. The draft Guiding tools were tested in eight Focus Group meetings as well as in pilot sessions in Vilnius, Milan, Amsterdam (3), Graz (2) and Barcelona (2).

Guiding Tool One  looks at admission criteria and procedures from a holistic perspective and provides assistance in creating a Coherent Admission Framework in terms of both internal and external coherence.

For internal coherence, it aims to assist the academic master’s directors in identify the key questions in deciding to admit or admit specific applicants – in view of the programme, the ensuing work, and the mix in class. It offers some guidance on striking the balance between measurable and qualitative elements in an admission procedure and stresses the importance of transparency – for students from other countries and education systems – and of validity – organizing admission in such a way that the predictive value of the criteria and norms can be monitored.

For external coherence, it helps master’s coordinators to fulfil basic conditions of transparency and validity and to embed the master’s admission a) in the general framework of the master’s programme and b) in the student’s experience at the university from first contact to alumni.

Guiding Tools Two, Three, Four and Five focus on each of the categories of admissions requirements that we have identified.

Guiding Tool Two delves into the key domain of Substance-Related Knowledge and Skills. What do admitted students have to know and be able to do – in the subject of the programme – on the first lecture day? How does one handle this question for master’s programs that consciously look for a mixed student background, e.g. because it is a multidisciplinary master’s? How does one identify key knowledge if it can’t be done in terms of undergraduate courses of the master’s’ university? Which books, key articles together constitute the essential core knowledge for the programme? How can one organize the process to make these decisions? By logical deduction backwards from the objective and the designated learning outcomes of the master’s programme? Or by asking a few of the most experienced professors? These and other issues are analysed and structured to help the users make their own path for change.

Guiding Tool Three addresses the key domain of “General Academic Competencies”. It identifies the most common ways in literature and in practice to categorize the key elements of general academic competence – or intellectual potential – or ability for critical thinking. It shows which standardized tests are available and how these are used in practice. It looks at commonly used indicators and proxies for general academic competence at the level of individual applicant students and at the level of their previous university.

Guiding Tool Four focuses on the area of personal and interpersonal competencies. Although no academic would argue that these play no role at all – and employers call for these personal/interpersonal competencies ever more loudly – this area is much less well developed in university education, as learning outcome, curriculum element or admission criteria. But like with General Academic Competencies, a critical look at both literature and practice wuickly leads to a limited number of fairly similar categorizations of the key elements of personal/interpersonal competencies. The Guiding Tool is designed to help academic master’s directors to articulate which (if any) personal or interpersonal competence they see as relevant in admission. It also helps to distinguish between the closely related concepts of competencies and personality traits.

Guiding Tool Five focuses on language requirements and language tests. The desire (and need) of graduate programmes in Europe to also attract participants from outside their own university, and from outside their own country, has – in all European countries other than the UK – called for the development of programmes in another language than their own native language. With a limited number of exceptions that will be outside of this guiding tool’s scope, this has led to the development of programmes in English as the medium for instruction. This Guiding Tool provides an overview of language tests used in admission processes. It also compares the different tests available, in order to support Master’s coordinators to decide whether (and if so, how) to incorporate them into their own (University’s) admissions process. For Master coordinators who have already been using specific language tests as part of their admission process this guiding tool may serve as a means to check whether the originally made choice for a specific test and/or specific level still serves its purpose.

Guiding Tool Six focuses on how to management the admission process. It contains practical observations and suggestions on an integrated approach to recruitment, applications, selection, and the use of digital systems.

Download Guiding Tools 2 – 6

Reports

The Mastermind Europe project yielded three reports strengthening the evidence base of the increasing diversity of Master’s applicants and the needs and opportunities to adapt admission accordingly.

The first one is an overview and analysis of the various developments in higher education and in the world at large, which explain the increasing diversity in students and programmes and explain why society and the economy need our Master’s classes to be diverse and international and why our admission needs to depart from the recognition paradigm.

The second one, the Evidence Report  is based on survey input from more than 350 Master’s coordinators as well as more than 2,200 international Master’s students and informs about facts on Master’s admission as well as perceptions among key stakeholders.

The third report focuses on – perceived – legal and regulatory obstacles to adapt admission to an approach based on the assessment of competencies rather than equivalence of diplomas

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The Mastermind Europe Approach

This document is a written representation of the Powerpoint presentation used in the Mastermind Europe Focus Group meeting in Vilnius, May 12-13, 2016. It gives a brief presentation about the project background, research and the resulting outcomes and publications of the Mastermind Read more »

Flyer
Mastermind Europe Manual

In the Mastermind Europe project, we have developed Guiding Tools and Key Forms to help academic Master’s coordinators to see if and how they can improve their admission criteria and procedures to enhance the international and diverse nature of their Read more »

Guiding tool
Guiding Tool 1: Coherent Admission Framework

Guiding Tool One  looks at admission criteria and procedures from a holistic perspective and provides assistance in creating a Coherent Admission Framework in terms of both internal and external coherence. For internal coherence, it aims to assist the academic master’s directors Read more »

Guiding tool
Guiding Tool 2: Subject-related knowledge and skills

This report describes the trend that more and more Master’s programmes get applications from students with diverse background in terms of their knowledge and related skills. It sketches reasons why more Master’s programmes indeed value this diversity. It analyses the key Read more »

Guiding tool
Guiding Tool 3: Academic competence and potential

This Guiding Tool describes and analyses the categorisations of general academic competence and potential most commonly used in the admissions process of graduate students to Master’s programmes. It provides an overview of the tests used in admission processes, looks into Read more »

Guiding tool
Guiding Tool 4: (Inter)personal traits & competences

As described in the first chapter “Paradigm shift”, descriptions of degrees and graduate programmes focus increasingly on non-cognitive skills and attitudes besides the academic content and subject specific knowledge. If you move forward from focusing merely on the recognition of Read more »

Guiding tool
Guiding Tool 5: Language Requirements

The desire (and need) of graduate programmes in Europe to also attract participants from outside their own university, and from outside their own country, has – in all European countries other than the UK – called for the development of Read more »

Guiding tool
Guiding Tool 6: Management of the admission process

The paradigm shift from diploma recognition towards the assessment of competency level requires a different framework to judge an applicant’s qualification. When (automatic) continuation from a Bachelor into a Master’s within the same discipline, the same university, or the same Read more »

Guiding tool
Report 1: Paradigm Shift

Changing paradigms in admission to master’s programmes in Europe The transition from bachelor’s to master’s in Europe is changing from a one-on-one transfer from a bachelor’s programme to a master’s programme into a many-to-many transition.

Evidence Report
Report 2: Admissions to English-Taught Master’s in Europe

The role of the present report, is to test the basic hypothesis of the project, i.e. to see if there is empirical evidence that external applicants are at a disadvantage in the admission process compared to internal applicants, and if Read more »

Evidence Report
Report 3: Legal obstacles on Master’s admission in Europe

The present report addresses one of the main problems affecting admissions in Europe nowadays: the perception by Master’s programme coordinators and admission staff that some important admission requirements restrincting a diverse international classroom are set by national laws. It tries Read more »

Evidence Report

Recent updates

Testimonial of Dr Nancy Campbell
2017-04-04

From the report on the Mastermind Europe pilot in Graz, by Dr Nancy Campbell:... Read more »

Pilot in Vilnius
2016-10-20

On October 20, 2016, the first Mastermind Europe pilot was conducted at Vilnius University,... Read more »