A Profile of Soft Skills for MTUN University Students

  • Sarala Thulasi Palpanadan
  • Ros Eliana Ahmad Zuki
  • Azhari Mariani
  • Mazlan Aris


Nowadays, soft skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving are being accentuated among university students as a process of preparing them for job markets. However, the mastery of soft skills is not easily tangible as compared to the hard skills. In this case, an instrument such as a profile is needed to measure the extent of soft skills mastery levels among the students. Thus, a pilot study was conducted to validate and determine the reliability of the self-developed profile. A quantitative method was employed where 119 final year university students who had enrolled in an English course at a Malaysian Technical University Network (MTUN) had participated. The data were analysed based on the Fleiss Kappa and Rasch Model approach. Three experts were consulted for the validity of the instrument (profile). The results showed that all the evaluators gave a very good level of agreement, k=0.95 (>0.80) based on the value of kappa. In addition, the responses from the students were analysed and the Cronbach's Alpha value obtained was high (0.990). In addition, the examination of the functionality of the competency constructed item competency was studied. It was found that respondent reliability was 0.96 (high) and the item reliability value was 0.68 (acceptable). Only two items with the outfit values of MNSQ beyond the range of 0.6 - 1.4 were dropped. Therefore, the study affirmed that the profile was valid and reliable, and could be used to measure the university students’ soft skill abilities in terms of critical thinking skills and problem solving skills. This profile also can be useful for other educational settings and courses.


Bailin, S. (2002). Critical thinking and science education. Science & Education, 11(4), 361-375. DOI10.1023/A:1016042608621
Bond, T. G. and Fox, C. M. (2007). Applying the Rasch model: fundamental measurement in the human sciences. 2nd Edition. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Borg, W. R. and Gall, M. D. (1983). Educational Research: An Introduction. New York: Longman Inc.
Cohen, R. J. and Swerdlik, M. E. (2002). Psychological testing and assessment. (5th ed.).
Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
Facione, P. (2011). Critical Thinking. What It Is and Why Its Counts. Measured Reason and The California Academic Press.
Fani, T. (2011). Overcoming Barriers to Teaching Critical Thinking. Paper presented at the 1st international conference on the Future of Education, Florence, Italy, June.
Fine, M. & Desmond, L. (2015). Inquiry-Based Learning: Preparing Young Learners for the
Demands of the 21st Century. Educator’s Voice, VIII, 2-11.
Greenberg, A.d., & Nilssen, A.H. (2015).The role of education in building soft skills. Putting
into perspective the priorities and opportunities for teaching collaboration and other soft skills in education. Wainhouse Research. (online) https://www.google.ca/url
Hamlin, M., and Wisneski, D. (2012). Supporting the Scientific Thinking and Inquiry of
Toddlers and Preschoolers Through Play. Young Children, 67(3), 82-88.
High School Students in Solving Non-routine Problems, E-International Journal of Educational Research, Vol: 8(2), 91-114.
Harrington, A. (2005). Modern Social Theory. 1-13.
Harris, A. L., Lang, M., Yates, D., & Kruck, S. E. (2008). Incorporating Ethics and Social Responsibility in IS Education. Journal of Information Systems Education, 22(3), 183-189.
Harun, R., Hock, L. K., & Othman, F. (2011). Environmental Knowledge and Attitude among Students in Sabah. World Applied Sciences Journal, 14, 83-87.
Innabi, H., and ElSheikh, O. (2007). The Change in Mathematics Teachers' Perceptions of Critical Thinking after 15 Years of Educational Reform in Jordan. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 64(1), 45-68.
Kem, G.N (2016). Developing Problem-solving Skills. Mathematics Competitions. 29, 26-40.
Krulik, S. and Rudnick. J. A. (1996) The New source book for teaching reasoning and problem solving in junior and senior high schools. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Lim, C. H. (2007). Penyelidikan Pendidikan. Pendekatan Kuantitatif dan Kualitatif. Shah Alam, Selangor: Mc Graw Hill Education.
Linacre, J. M. (2005). Optimizing Rating Scale Category Effectiveness. Journal of Applied Measurement, 3(1), 85–106.
Linacre, J. M. (2010). A user’s guide to Winsteps: Rasch-Model Computer Program. Beaverton: Oregon.
London, R. (1993). A Curriculum of Non-Routine Problems. American Educational Research
Association: Atalanta.
Majid, S., Liming, Z., Tong, S., & Raihana, S. (2012). Importance of soft skills for education and career success. International Journal for Cross-Discilinary Subjects in Education. 2012, 2(2), 1037-1042.
McMillan, J. H and Schumacher, S. (1984). Research In Education. Boston : Little, Brown dan Company Limited.
Ministry of Education Malaysia. (2013). Malaysian Education Blueprint 2073-2025. Putrajaya: Ministry of Education, Malaysia.
Mohd Majid Konting (2005). Kaedah Penyelidikan Pendidikan. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
Saygili, S. (2017). Examining the Problem-Solving Skills and The Strategies Used by High
School Students in Solving Non-routine Problems, E-International Journal of Educational Research, Vol: 8(2), 91-114.
Paul, R. and Elder, L. (2006). Critical Thinking (Concepts and Tools). The Foundation for
Critical Thinking.
Polite, D. F., Beck, C. T. and Hungler, B. P. (2001). Essentials of Nursing Research: Methods, Appraised dan Utilization (5th Ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott William dan Walkins.
Soifer. A. (2013), What "Problem Solving" ought to mean and how Combinatorial Geometry
answers this Question, Mathematics Competitions, 26. 1. 8-22
Taylor. P. (2015), Classifying Methods of Problem Solving - and my Favorites, Mathematics
Competitions, 28(1), 7-27.
The Higher Education Department, Ministry of Education Malaysia. (2006). Modul
Pembangunan Modul Pembangunan Kemahiran Insaniah (Soft Skills) untuk Institusi
Pengajian Tinggi Malaysia. Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Warburton, E. C. (2008). Changes in Dance Teachers’ Beliefs About Critical-Thinking
Activities. Journal of Education and Human Development, 2(1), 1-16.
Wolf, R. . (1997). Questionaire. Dalam J.P Keeves (Ed.). Educational Research, Methodology and measurement: An International Handbook. Edisi ke-2. Oxford: Elsevier Science Ltd., 422-427.
Zhou, Q., Huang, Q., and Tian, H. (2013). Developing Students’ Critical Thinking Skills by
Task-Based Learning in Chemistry Experiment Teaching. Creative Education, 4(12), 40.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2013.412A1006
How to Cite
THULASI PALPANADAN, Sarala et al. A Profile of Soft Skills for MTUN University Students. International Journal of Advanced Research in Economics and Finance, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 3, p. 13-21, sep. 2021. ISSN 2682-812X. Available at: <https://myjms.mohe.gov.my/index.php/ijaref/article/view/15083>. Date accessed: 20 may 2024.
English Section