Development process


Australian universities were consulted to provide a list of skills they valued and would like to see assessed in their students.

The most frequently mentioned skills were:

  • Communication/Structured writing
  • Problem solving/Applied reasoning
  • Interpersonal skills/Teamwork
  • Critical thinking
  • Ethics/Citizenship/Social responsibility
  • Commitment to and capacity for lifelong learning
  • IT familiarity/Use of technology/Information literacy/ Information management

Criteria for selecting components for the GSA

Amongst the criteria for selecting components for the test were the following:

  • Whether the skill was likely to be definable as a discrete, valid and enduring dimension.
  • Reliability, which, amongst other things, limits the number of components that can be tested (probably only three multiple-choice components in two hours).
  • Likely diagnostic usefulness, predictive value and transferability.
  • The preference of the universities that formally responded for test components that focus on generic cognitive skills rather than personality, specific discipline skills or specific work skills.

On the basis of the selection criteria and various other considerations, the following four dimensions were selected for the initial GSA test:

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Interpersonal understandings
  • Written communication