About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1021-1028
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain

IMPROVING TEACHING AND LEARNING THROUGH COMPETENCE ASSESSMENT AND DEVELOPMENT. A STUDY OF FIRST YEAR STUDENTS

M. Alcalà, A. Bikfalvi, F. Julián, F.X. Espinach

Universitat de Girona (SPAIN)
The objective of this paper is to explore the association between teaching and learning, on the one hand, and competence assessment and development, on the other hand. In this paper, present and desired competence levels of students coursing Agricultural Engineering at the University of Girona, Spain are empirically tested. The available data on competences comes from the self-evaluation of a group of university students using an ICT-based tool, called Cycloid, to evaluate the social and personal competences required for the work-role of project manager. The aggregate competence map is complemented with a post-evaluation guideline, collecting information relative to student proposals, in terms of specific actions, to improve priority competences.

In the present educational context, the process towards the European Higher Education Space aims at shortening the distance between students preparation to employers requirements. Thus, students’ competences are becoming a priority for universities, since employers are already focussing on personnel competences.

The application of Cycloid was conducted in October 2013 at the University of Girona, one out of the nine public higher education centres located in the region of Catalonia in Spain. Students were in their first year of their Agri-food Engineering Degree studies. Student considered themselves as project managers of their learning career or in professional environments, and they were receptive to competence evaluation since their awareness of the topic’s importance.

Research questions:
RQ1: What are students’ perceived competence strengths and weaknesses at present and in the future for the course 13/14? This question gives the answer to the identification of possible improvement areas, or intentional change.
RQ2: What were students’ perceived competence strengths and weaknesses at present and for the future for past courses? This question gives the answer to the identification of possible changes in terms of competences. It further generates a process of analysis of the teaching staff in order to identify possible explanations for the competence priority changes.
RQ3: What actions can be taken –planning, content, communication, evaluation of teaching- in order to address the new situation?

Discussion of results:
Preliminary results show that for the course 13/14 students detect as strengths: group capabilities, initiative, self-confidence, trustworthiness, decision quality and communication. On the other hand, main weaknesses include: stress tolerance, optimism, leveraging diversity, conceptual thinking and production efficiency. Past evaluations show a totally different result, in the sense that stress tolerance and language proficiency and optimism were the main past weaknesses. Therefore the authors detect a radical change in the results. Teaching staff committed a series of actions which the researchers intuitively associate to this change. Some examples include better planning, improved communication, clear definition of objectives and learning outcomes, and a basic project to carry out and to be presented by students. At present, teaching staff is planning the possible actions to address current competence gaps. Complementarily, students’ actions are also analysed. The authors believe that the detailed results have important implications for different communities: students, teaching staff, and possibly, university management.
@InProceedings{ALCALA2014IMP,
author = {Alcalà, M. and Bikfalvi, A. and Juli{\'{a}}n, F. and Espinach, F.X.},
title = {IMPROVING TEACHING AND LEARNING THROUGH COMPETENCE ASSESSMENT AND DEVELOPMENT. A STUDY OF FIRST YEAR STUDENTS},
series = {8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-8412-0},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {10-12 March, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {1021-1028}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Alcalà AU - A. Bikfalvi AU - F. Julián AU - F.X. Espinach
TI - IMPROVING TEACHING AND LEARNING THROUGH COMPETENCE ASSESSMENT AND DEVELOPMENT. A STUDY OF FIRST YEAR STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-616-8412-0/2340-1079
PY - 2014
Y1 - 10-12 March, 2014
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2014 Proceedings
SP - 1021
EP - 1028
ER -
M. Alcalà, A. Bikfalvi, F. Julián, F.X. Espinach (2014) IMPROVING TEACHING AND LEARNING THROUGH COMPETENCE ASSESSMENT AND DEVELOPMENT. A STUDY OF FIRST YEAR STUDENTS, INTED2014 Proceedings, pp. 1021-1028.
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