CRITERIA WEIGHTING, BONUS AND PENALTY IN THE QUALIFICATION OF THE PHYSICS LAB PRACTICES: AN ASSESSMENT ORIENTED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPETENCES

The adaptation of university to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) represents a major challenge for innovative strategies which are required in the evaluation of learning. This work proposes a strategy to evaluate continuously the physics lab practices combining three types of criteria in the computation of the qualification: weighting of the objectives, bonus and penalty. The weighting of the different sections is used to give more importance to the educational objectives and gives each a score based on relevancy. The sum of these scores is a note between 0 and 10 which must provide qualifications for primary, transversal and specific competences developed by the students. However the complexity of relevant competences in the EHEA difficults considerably get an accurate evaluation by a simple weighting of objectives. This fact has led to raise in this paper the use of additional bonus and penalty criteria which modifies the qualifications by adding or subtracting points in order to qualify and clarify the evaluation of the competences. The implementation of this type of evaluation in the lab practices of the subject “Physical Foundations of Engineering of Telecommunications Engineering” shows a clear beneficial effect on motivation and development of the competences in the students.
Among the aspects of university teaching that can decisively influence in the professional guidance of students it is especially important to make the evaluation of learning based on a series of educational objectives properly preset for the development of the competences. Thus, the evaluation must be materialized in a series of objectives through a systematic process in which one or more student characteristics are analyzed and evaluated in terms of benchmarks or evaluation criteria. In this systematic process of evaluation we can distinguish three stages: first, an initial evaluation that considers the previous knowledge and skills of students; second, formative evaluation which guides the students informing them of their successes and mistakes; and third a summative or final evaluation which gives a qualification that reflects the knowledge which students have reached. In the final evaluation assign a weighted qualification based on relevancy to the different objectives is necessary, so that the sum of these qualifications is a mark between 0 and 10 which reflects the level of development of the competences in students.
The main hypothesis of our work is that the summative evaluation in physics lab practices can provide a more accurate measure of development of the competences in students with the application of correction factors which can raise or lower the qualification initially obtained by weighting the objectives. In this sense, the main purpose of this work is to properly define a series of bonus and penalty criteria that allow specifying and qualifying the qualification which focus on the degree of development of the competences of the students in a continuous process throughout the course. The variables involved in this approach are: structuring of the working folder or portfolio, working groups in the laboratory, prioritized weighting of objectives, criteria for the bonus and penalty in qualifying, final qualifications and motivation.