TOWARDS A BALANCE BETWEEN TRADITIONAL EVALUATION AND COMPETENCE EVALUATION. A UNIVERSITY CASE STUDY
Statement of the objective
The objective of this paper is to explore the association between traditional performance evaluation and performance evaluation through competences. Firstly, we theoretically explore the relationship between competence evaluation and performance. Secondly, we empirically test the relationship between the results of competence assessment and performance. Our 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 significance of the proposed presentation
Competences refer to traits, knowledge, skills, experience and values that an individual needs to accomplish his or her tasks. They are also defined as behaviour models (Roberts, 1997), or as hidden characteristics of personality with an effect on the performance at work (Spencer and Spencer, 1993). Based on these definitions, our rationale is that competence assessment is an important means of anticipating work-role performance, and thus, competence evaluation becomes an important instrument in several stages of human resources development.
In our educational context, the process towards the European Higher Education Area 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. This has driven changes to universities, especially in continental Europe. They are moving beyond the traditional teaching-learning didactic approaches, replacing them with innovative methods more appropriate to real-world settings. Such challenges for education drive change in learning curricula, method, and performance evaluation among others. Regarding the latter, there is a shift from the traditional exam-based assessments to more innovative task assessment, which considers performance in multiple different tasks that the students carry out.
Description of methods
The application of Cycloid was conducted during December 2009 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 fifth year of their studies of Industrial Engineering. Their proximity to finishing their degree, and the fact that some of them were already working, made them especially receptive to competence evaluation and to consider themselves as project managers of their learning career.
Based on existing literature, we formulate the following research questions:
RQ1: Is there a relationship between project manager competences and traditional/exam-based performance evaluation using a project-related subject?
RQ2: Is there a relationship between project manager competences and traditional/exam-based performance evaluation using a non-project-related subject?
Further analysis can give hints on testing the six groups of competences provided by the tool (self-knowledge, self-control, cognitive capability, motivating oneself, empathy, and social skills) in present and future states as well as the gap between them in relation to the previously described performance measures. Our proposal includes the identification of key competences conductive to success.
Discussion of results
The results have not been fully obtained yet, since the exam period will end in January 2010.