About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5531-5534
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain

ENHANCING STUDENT LEARNING IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING THERMODYNAMICS WITH A TWO-STAGE TEST

M. Duarte

Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (PORTUGAL)
For years, it has been recognized in the literature, the need to change and improve assessment methods. In spite of that, the purpose of most assessment is still to grade students, and not the learning enhancement.
In the early 1970s, researchers found that what influenced students most was not the teaching but the assessment, which lead to the idea of the hidden curriculum. According to students’ testimony, what and how much they studied were completely dominated by the way they perceived the demands of the assessment. This effect of assessment in students’ learning is what Biggs defined as backwash, which means that students’ learn what they think will be assessed.
Backwash is almost seen as negative, but studying for the test is only negative if the test doesn’t assess what we intend students’ to learn.
A two-stage test was used in Thermodynamics (Mechanical Engineering, 2nd year), as a way to improve learning of a particular topic (state properties determination). The stages were a week apart. In the first stage, the students answer 20 questions in 30 minutes. Based on what they thought they missed in the first stage (grades were not published at this time), they could try to improve their performance in the second stage, by studying harder in the week between the two stages. The teacher didn't interfere with this process, encouraging self-assessment and self-regulation, in order to promote the autonomy of the learners. In the second stage, the test only included the questions that each student missed and had the duration of 30 minutes.
Students’ evaluation of this task was done through a series of questions, in an anonymous questionnaire. Results (143 valid questionnaires) show that this kind of assessment, that uses a more student-centred approach, as required by the Bologna Process, is seen by the students as helpful tool to promote study (85,3%) and enhance learning (87,6%). Students express the will to have more two-stage tests (89,1%).
@InProceedings{DUARTE2012ENH,
author = {Duarte, M.},
title = {ENHANCING STUDENT LEARNING IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING THERMODYNAMICS WITH A TWO-STAGE TEST},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {5531-5534}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Duarte
TI - ENHANCING STUDENT LEARNING IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING THERMODYNAMICS WITH A TWO-STAGE TEST
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 5531
EP - 5534
ER -
M. Duarte (2012) ENHANCING STUDENT LEARNING IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING THERMODYNAMICS WITH A TWO-STAGE TEST, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 5531-5534.
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