EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT FOR THE PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCES DEVELOPMENT IN NEW DEGREES: PERCEPTIONS AND CASUAL ATTRIBUTION PROCESSES OF FIRST NEW EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA GRADUATES
This communication is part of the project “The education assessment impact on the competence development in the university. Perspectives from the new graduates groups” (EDU2012-32766) funded by Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Finance. The aim of this study is to analyze the impact of education assessment on the development of competences in the university. This is done by studying the perception of the first graduating groups that studied under the curricula developed for the new European Higher Education Area.
The methods and work plan for this research have been designed from these proposed goals. Thus, as a first step, all the team members contributed to an exhaustive bibliographical analysis, that, in less intense form, will continue throughout the project. In second place, we have proposed a mixed approach that stems from a qualitative methodology based on narratives, discussion groups, and interviews that is contrasted with the data that is obtained through open and closed questionnaires. These have been passed in seven Spanish universities: Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona TECH (UPC), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB), Universidad de Granada (UGR), and Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC); and in four studies: Primary Education, Electrical Engineering, Pharmacy, and Computer Science.
Specifically, in this paper we will present the results of the survey through closed questionnaires that has been conducted to not only identify which competences the graduates perceive to have acquired, but especially, to establish, according to the students, which are the factors or processes that are responsible of the development of the competences (causal attibution).
The data obtained from the questionnaires were introduced into a file and processed using R, a free software environment for statistics, open to all platforms, that is becoming increasingly popular for statistic analysis. A brief statistical study of the closed questions shows the following results.
The most remarkable characteristic of the results is the disconnection there is between what students perceive as useful and the methodology and strategies used by universities. The differences shown here might mean that we are not preparing our students adequately. But it must be noted that we are measuring perceptions. We might be working well, but not explaining adequately why we are using the teaching methodologies and assessment strategies we do. For instance, it is quite revealing that students do not believe computer literacy to be important. And we must consider a "grass is greener" effect: methodologies and strategies that are used less seem more attractive to the students, attractiveness that might fade away as soon as they become commonplace.