Addressing the low skill levels of university undergraduates in the United Kingdom

Maddy Findon, Sue Johnston-Wilder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There seems to be an increasing problem with basic skills acquisition for young people in the UK. Lower levels of facility with literacy and numeracy than older generations are being reported, including for those with higher levels of education. In this article, we attribute the problem to prevalent fixed mindsets, resulting in a lack of attention to developing both narrative and scientific modes of thought in all learners, and also to the important affective domain: beliefs, attitudes and emotions. This can lead to the unintended exclusion of learners within certain subjects, based on their existing strengths and weaknesses.

We propose the development of a newly sensitive and inclusive approach, rooted in the use of both narrative and scientific modes of thoughts across all subject areas, developing growth mindsets, promoting academic resilience and using the ‘growth zone model’ explicitly with learners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-54
Number of pages18
JournalWarwick Journal of Education
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Literacy, Numeracy, Modes of thought, Narrative, Scientific, Anxiety, Resilience, Mindset, Growth zone model


Dive into the research topics of 'Addressing the low skill levels of university undergraduates in the United Kingdom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this