ASSESSING THE STUDENTS' PERCEPTION ABOUT LEARNING COMPETENCES IN A MANAGEMENT COURSE
Universidad de Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The implementation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) is provoking a change in the methodology and assessment techniques to be applied in the Spanish higher education system. In this context, a group of teachers at the University of Alicante has been working to adapt their subjects to the EHEA’s guidelines.
The aim of this paper is to present the perception of students on the practical implications of this changes, and the degree in which they have developed the learning competences set for them prior to the beginning of the course and which were listed in the Student's Guide. To do, that we have focused on a specific subject taught in the first year of the Bachelor of Business Administration and Management, namely Principles of Business Economics, in which changes have been gradually introduced since the academic year 2007-2008.
The first one of these changes was the design and implementation of the Teachers’ and Students' guide, simultaneously adapting the teaching materials of the subject. Afterward, it was the evaluation system’s guidelines what was altered to meet the requirements of the new educational context. Some of the major innovations introduced in this regard were: regular multiple-choice tests carried out every three units, a portfolio of case studies to be handed in throughout the term, and handing out copies of the slides used by the teachers, among others.
This research has been carried out by the members of the collaborative network “Business Organization”, within the framework of the project of research networks in University education convened by the Institute of Education Sciences at the University of Alicante. A quantitative questionnaire was designed to assess the students’ opinions on the new characteristics of the course, their perception about their learning competence achievement levels, and the perceived contribution of these competences to their general learning process of the course. Each item was measured in a five point scale. This survey was fulfilled by 46 students of the above-mentioned subject (33% response rate), it was voluntary and did not provide any rewards to the respondents.
The analysis of the results show that the students have detected a number of strong points and improvement aspects to be taken into consideration regarding the EHEA methodology and evaluation system in their course. These strengths, this is, those aspects valued as positive and significant are the following: having a clear and previous definition of the objectives of the course, feeling a positive work environment in class, and having covered successfully the learning objectives set at the beginning of the term. As for the improvement areas, the most outstanding are their demand for continuous evaluation and their belief that the theoretical part should have more weight.
Finally, this experience has allowed the participating teachers to draw a few qualitative conclusions about the way their students face the novelties brought about the EHEA. Summarizing, whatever activity launched with the aim of improving the learning process, regardless of the results achieved, has an important effect of leveraging the students’ esteem and their willingness to work, specially if it is to be carried out in groups. Students tend to be more actively involved in the outcome of the course and feel more responsible for their academic and professional performance.
Keywords: EHEA, assessment, competence, management.