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Section D - Graduate Attributes

Seoul Accord Documents > Section D - Graduate Attributes

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D.1 Introduction

The role of professionals who innovate, design, implement and maintain computers, computing systems, and computing applications has become essential to both the economic development of, and the provision of services to, society. Typical computing activities require several roles that are named and recognized in different ways in many jurisdictions.1  These roles, with a degree of overlap among them, are defined by their respective distinctive competencies.

 

The development of a computing professional is a continuous learning process. The first stage may be the attainment of an accredited educational qualification, the Panerai Replica graduate stage. The second stage, following a period of training and experience, may lead to professional registration, licensure, or some other professional recognition, depending on the country or jurisdiction. In addition, computing professionals are expected to engage in life-long learning in order to maintain and enhance competency throughout their working lives.

 

Because of the universally essential nature of computer applications and the mobility of professionals across jurisdictional boundaries due to globalization, there is a real need to identify academic programs that adequately prepare graduates for entry into a computing profession based on generally recognized knowledge and abilities across country and other jurisdictional boundaries. Toward this end, the Seoul Accord is established as a mechanism for recognizing the equivalence of accredited educational qualifications in the development of computing professionals. The Seoul Accord provides for mutual recognition of graduates of accredited programs2  among the signatories of the accord. This accord is based on the principle of equivalence of educational preparation for entry to a computing profession, rather than on exact correspondence of content and outcomes of accredited programs. This document, Seoul Accord Graduate Attributes (SAGA), presents the accord signatories’ consensus on the generally-accepted attributes of graduates for programs included in the accord.

 

Section 2 of this document provides background, scope, limitations, and the contextual interpretation for the graduate attributes (presented in Section 5). Section 3 provides a number of definitions that form a common basis for understanding the general applicability of the attributes. General range statements are presented in Section 4, and the graduate attributes themselves are provided in Section 5.
 

D.2 Background for the Graduate Attributes

D.2.1 Purpose of Graduate Attributes

The graduate attributes are intended to define the scope and standards for programs that are recognized by the Seoul Accord, as well as to assist accord signatories and provisional members in developing outcomes-based accreditation criteria for use in their respective jurisdictions. Also, the graduate attributes guide bodies that are currently developing their accreditation systems with a goal of seeking to become signatories of the accord.

Graduate attributes form a set of individually-assessable outcomes that are indicative of a graduate's potential competency. The graduate attributes are exemplars of the attributes expected of a graduate from an accredited program. Each attribute is a succinct statement of an expected capability, qualified, if necessary, by a range indication appropriate to the type of program. The attributes identify the characteristics of graduates of all computing programs that fall within the scope of the Seoul Accord. A signatory may identify additional attributes that differentiate specific programs accredited by the signatory.

D.2.2 Limitation of Graduate Attributes

Each signatory defines the criteria against which computing educational programs are evaluated for accreditation. The accord is based on the principle of substantially equivalent qualification. That is, programs are not expected to have identical outcomes or content, but rather are expected to produce graduates who are prepared to enter professional careers in computing. The graduate attributes provide a point of reference for accreditation bodies to describe the outcomes of a substantially equivalent qualification. The graduate attributes do not represent “international standards” for accreditation.

D.2.3 Scope and Organization of Graduate Attributes

In defining the attributes, it is useful to distinguish among various types of post-secondary educational preparation. In conformance with corresponding terminologies employed by the International Educational Accords3 , the graduate attributes contrast the differences among the educational preparation for what will be called the computing professional, the computing technologist, and the computing technician. Each of these categories is unique in the range of problem solving skills and professional competency, and the categories are generally typified by successively less formal educational requirements. For each attribute name, characteristics or abilities relative to the attribute that should be obtained through formal education or training are listed for each of the roles of computing professional, computing technologist, and computing technician. The scope of the Seoul Accord encompasses only those academic programs that are accredited by accord signatories as preparing graduates for roles as computing professionals.

Each of the attribute statements is formulated for the professional, technologist, and technician using a common stem, with varying additions appropriate to each educational track. For example, for the Knowledge for Solving Computing Problems attribute:

Common Stem: Apply knowledge of computing fundamentals, knowledge of a computing specialization, and mathematics, science, and domain knowledge appropriate for the computing specialization …

Computing Professional Range: … to the abstraction and conceptualization of computing models from defined problems and requirements.
Computing Technologist Range: … to defined and applied computing procedures, processes, systems, or methodologies.
Computing Technician Range: … to a wide variety of practical procedures and practices.

The resulting statements are shown below for this example:

11년 지원학교 현황

… for Seoul Accord (Computing Professional) graduate

for Computing Technologist graduate

… for Computing Technician graduate

Apply knowledge of computing fundamentals, knowledge of a computing specialization, and mathematics, science, and domain knowledge appropriate for the computing specialization to the abstraction and conceptualization of computing models from defined problems and requirements.

Apply knowledge of computing fundamentals, knowledge of a computing specialization, and mathematics, science, and domain knowledge appropriate for the computing specialization to defined and applied computing procedures, processes, systems, or methodologies.

Apply knowledge of computing fundamentals, knowledge of a computing specialization, and mathematics, science, and domain knowledge appropriate for the computing specialization to a wide variety of practical procedures and practices.

The range qualifier in several attribute statements uses the notions of complex computing problems, broadly-defined computing problems, and well-defined computing problems or the notions of complex activities, broadly-defined activities, and well-defined activities. These designators for different levels of problem complexity and professional activity are defined in Section 4, and the full set of graduate attribute definitions is given in Section 5.

D.2.4 Contextual Interpretation

The graduate attributes are stated generically and are applicable to all computing disciplines. In interpreting the statements within a disciplinary context, each individual statement may be amplified and given particular emphasis, but in doing so its substance must not be altered and its individual elements must not be ignored.

D.3 Definitions Associated with the Graduate Attributes

The practice area of a computing professional, computing technologist, or computing technician is defined both by the area of computing knowledge and skills, and by the nature of the activities performed.

A computing problem in any domain is one that can be solved by the application of computing knowledge, skills, and generic competencies.

Solution means an effective proposal for resolving a problem, taking into account all relevant technical, legal, social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues and respecting the need for sustainability.

D.4 Common Range and Contextual Definitions Associated with the Graduate Attributes

D.4.1 Range of Problem Solving

Range of Problem Solving

 

Characteristic

A Complex Computing Problem is a computing problem having some or all of the following characteristics:

A Broadly-defined Computing Problem is a computing problem having some or all of the following characteristics:

A Well-defined Computing Problem is a computing problem having some or all of the following characteristics:

1

Range of conflicting requirements

Involves wide-ranging or conflicting technical, computing, and other issues

Involves a variety of factors, which may impose conflicting constraints

Involves several issues, but with few of these exerting conflicting constraints

2

Depth of analysis required

Has no obvious solution, and requires conceptual thinking and innovative analysis to formulate suitable abstract models

Can be solved by application of well-proven analysis techniques

Can be solved in standardised ways

3

Depth of knowledge required

A solution requires the use of in-depth computing or domain knowledge and an analytical approach that is based on well-founded principles

A solution requires knowledge of principles, and applied procedures or methodologies

Can be resolved using limited theoretical knowledge, but normally requires substantial practical knowledge

4

Familiarity of issues

Involves infrequently-encountered issues

Belongs to families of familiar problems, which are solved in well-accepted ways; context may be unfamiliar

Is frequently encountered and thus familiar to most practitioners in the field; context may be unfamiliar

5

Level of problem

Is outside problems encompassed by standards and standard practice for professional computing

May be partially outside those encompassed by standards or standard practice

Is encompassed by standards and/or documented procedures of practice

6

Extent of stakeholder involvement and level of conflicting requirements

Involves diverse groups of stakeholders with widely varying needs

Involves several groups of stakeholders with differing and occasionally conflicting needs

Involves a limited range of stakeholders with differing needs

7

Consequences

Has significant consequences in a range of contexts

Has consequences that are important locally, but may extend to a broader context

Has consequences that are important locally, and usually are not far-reaching

8

Interdependence

Is a high-level problem possibly including many component parts or sub-problems

Is part of, or systems within, a complex computing problem

Is a discrete component of a computing system

9

Requirement identification

Identification of a requirement or the cause of a problem is ill defined or unknown

Identification of a requirement or the cause of a problem is possible from a set of known options

A requirement or the cause of a problem can be determined by well-established ways

D.4.2 Range of Computing Activities

Range of Computing Activities

 

Characteristic

A Complex Computing Activity is a computing activity or project that has some or all of the following characteristics:

A Broadly-defined Computing Activity is a computing activity or projects that has some or all of the following characteristics:

A Well-defined Computing Activity is a computing activity or project that has some or all of the following characteristics:

1

Range of resources (people, money, equipment, materials, information, and technologies)

Involves the use of diverse resources

Involves a variety of resources

Involves a limited range of resources

2

Level of interactions

Requires resolution of significant problems arising from interactions among wide-ranging or conflicting technical, computing, contextual, or other issues

Requires resolution of occasional interactions among technical, computing, contextual, and other issues, of which few are conflicting

Requires resolution of interactions between limited technical and computing issues, with little or no impact from broader issues

3

Innovation

Involves creative use of knowledge of computing or domain principles in novel ways

Involves the use of new resources, techniques, or computing processes in innovative ways

Involves the use of existing resources techniques, or computing processes in new ways

4

Consequences to society and the environment

Has significant consequences in a range of contexts

Has consequences that are most important locally, but may extend more widely

Has consequences that are locally important and not far-reaching

5

Familiarity

Can extend beyond previous experiences by applying principles-based approaches

Requires a knowledge of normal operating procedures and processes

Requires a knowledge of practical procedures and practices for widely applied operations and processes

D.5 Graduate Attributes

The following table provides profiles of graduates of three types of postsecondary educational computing programs. See Section 4 for definitions of complex, broadly-defined, and well-defined computing problems and activities. Note that the Seoul Accord applies only to the Computing Professional graduate, and that the columns for Computing Technologist and Computing Technician are included for comparative and clarification purposes only.

Graduate Attributes

 

 

Differentiating Characteristic

… for Seoul Accord (Computing Professional) Graduate

… for Computing Technologist Graduate

… for Computing Technician Graduate

1

Academic Education

Educational depth and breadth

Completion of an accredited program of study designed to prepare graduates as computing professionals

Completion of a program of study typically of shorter duration than for professional preparation

Completion of a program of study typically of shorter duration than for technologist preparation

2

Knowledge for Solving Computing Problems

Breadth and depth of education and type of knowledge, both theoretical and practical

Apply knowledge of computing fundamentals, knowledge of a computing specialization, and mathematics, science, and domain knowledge appropriate for the computing specialization to the abstraction and conceptualization of computing models from defined problems and requirements

Apply knowledge of computing fundamentals, knowledge of a computing specialization, and mathematics, science, and domain knowledge appropriate for the computing specialization to defined and applied computing procedures, processes, systems, or methodologies

Apply knowledge of computing fundamentals, knowledge of a computing specialization, and mathematics, science, and domain knowledge appropriate for the computing specialization to a wide variety of practical procedures and practices

3

Problem Analysis

Complexity of analysis

Identify, formulate, research literature, and solve complex computing problems reaching substantiated conclusions using fundamental principles of mathematics, computing sciences, and relevant domain disciplines

Identify, formulate, research literature, and solve broadly-defined computing problems reaching substantiated conclusions using analytical tools appropriate to the discipline or area of specialization

Identify and solve well-defined computing problems reaching substantiated conclusions using codified methods of analysis specific to the field of activity

4

Design/ Development of Solutions

Breadth and uniqueness of computing problems, i.e., the extent to which problems are original and to which solutions have previously been identified or codified

Design and evaluate solutions for complex computing problems, and design and evaluate systems, components, or processes that meet specified needs with appropriate consideration for public health and safety, cultural, societal, and environmental considerations

Design solutions for broadly-defined computing technology problems, and contribute to the design of systems, components, or processes to meet specified needs with appropriate consideration for public health and safety, cultural, societal, and environmental considerations

Design solutions for well-defined computing problems, and assist with the design of systems, components, or processes to meet specified needs with appropriate consideration for public health and safety, cultural, societal, and environmental considerations

5

Modern Tool Usage

Level and appropriateness of the tool to the type of activities performed

Create, select, adapt and apply appropriate techniques, resources, and modern computing tools to complex computing activities, with an understanding of the limitations

Select and apply appropriate techniques, resources, and modern computing tools to broadly-defined computing activities, with an understanding of the limitations

Apply appropriate techniques, resources, and modern computing tools to well-defined computing activities, with an awareness of the limitations

6

Individual and Team Work

Role in, and diversity of, the team

Function effectively as an individual and as a member or leader in diverse teams and in multi-disciplinary settings

Function effectively as an individual and as a member or leader in diverse technical teams

Function effectively as an individual and as a member in diverse technical teams

7

Communication

Level of communication according to type of activities performed

Communicate effectively with the computing community and with society at large about complex computing activities by being able to comprehend and write effective reports, design documentation, make effective presentations, and give and understand clear instructions

Communicate effectively with the computing community and with society at large about broadly-defined computing activities by being able to comprehend and write effective reports, design documentation, make effective presentations, and give and understand clear instructions

Communicate effectively with the computing community and with society at large about well-defined computing activities by being able to comprehend the work of others, document one’s own work, and give and understand clear instructions

8

Computing Professionalism and Society

No differentiation in this characteristic except level of practice

Understand and assess societal, health, safety, legal, and cultural issues within local and global contexts, and the consequential responsibilities relevant to professional computing practice

Understand and assess societal, health, safety, legal, and cultural issues within local and global contexts, and the consequential responsibilities relevant to computing technologist practice

Understand and assess societal, health, safety, legal, and cultural issues within local and global contexts, and the consequential responsibilities relevant to computing technician practice

9

Ethics

No differentiation in this characteristic except level of practice

Understand and commit to professional ethics, responsibilities, and norms of professional computing practice

Understand and commit to professional ethics, responsibilities, and norms of computing technologist practice

Understand and commit to professional ethics, responsibilities, and norms of computing technician practice

10

Life-long Learning

No differentiation in this characteristic except level of practice

Recognize the need, and have the ability, to engage in independent learning for continual development as a computing professional

Recognize the need, and have the ability, to engage in independent learning for continual development as a computing technologist

Recognize the need, and have the ability, to engage in independent learning for continual development as a computing technician

D.6 Conclusion

Judgments on the standards of academic qualifications are often subjective. Only in the formal accreditation process is evidence judged against defined criteria. These criteria have become increasingly aligned through international accords, driven by globalisation of computing practice and the accompanying mobility of computing graduates and professionals. The Graduate Attributes listed here comprise a definition by the Seoul Accord of a set of outcomes that typify potential competency and performance on the part of graduates of computing programs within the scope of the accord. The Graduate Attributes will undoubtedly be refined as the computing discipline and the criteria of the accord signatories evolve.

D.7 Acknowledgement

This document is an adaptation of a similar document that is used by the Washington Accord, Sydney Accord, and Dublin Accord for engineering, engineering technology, and engineering technician, respectively (see http://www.washingtonaccord.org/). The work of the developers of the engineering attributes is gratefully acknowledged as the basis for this document.


The term computing is used in this document as a discipline in a broad sense, and it includes many other general terms such as informatics, computing and IT-related, and information and communication technology that may be used elsewhere. It is recognized that different terminology is used in different countries, and that specific titles or designations may have differing legal empowerment or restrictions within individual jurisdictions.

The term program is used in this document to indicate the academic qualification that prepares a graduate for entry into a computing profession. Other terms for the same thing, such as course, may be used in some educational systems.

The International Educational Accords are comprised of the Washington Accord, Sydney Accord, and Dublin Accord (see http://www.washingtonaccord.org/)