THE CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT IN THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA: THE NEED FOR UNDERSTANDING
University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The Continuous Assessment (CA), which is one of the distinctive characteristics of the assessment system in the degrees subject to the European Higher Education Area, has caused some trouble in certain European countries. This is the case of Spain where, traditionally, magisterial classes have been predominant. On the one hand, lecturers not only have had to include in their subjects different activities that could be assessed, but also they have had to change their mind and redesign their teaching approach. On the other hand, the students, who are used to a passive learning system (taking notes during the lesson), are now supposed to do a more autonomous work (solve different activities, participate, etc.) in order to pass the subject.
The 6th of July of 2006, the University of Barcelona (Spain) defined new regulations about the assessment system in order to adjust it to the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area. Since then, the CA is considered as the usual form to assess the students although, for those students who cannot attend the lessons, it is still possible to choose the unique assessment –usually understood as a final exam-. Initially, only the pilot degrees of European convergence had adopted these new regulations. We should say that some pilot experiences where created for the guidance of the rest of the degrees in the convergence process.
The authors of this paper not only belong to one of those pilot degrees -Public Management and Administration-, but also to a Teaching Innovation Group (GID-GAP). For three years we have been working in the definition of the CA and in its implementation in the Public Management and Administration Degree. We have already evidenced that there has been a progressive acceptation on the lecturers’ side (in the last year the whole of the lecturers had adopted it). The observations that we have collected till the moment suggest, moreover, that the students who have chosen this way of assessment have had a higher performance (better marks). Likewise, the way of implement this CA differs from one subject to another: Meanwhile some lecturers assess the participation during the lessons and the attendance, others do not. In some subjects there is a final exam as well as the submission of different activities during the term whereas in other there is not a final exam. So it is obvious that there is not a homogeneous interpretation of the CA. Should it be necessary? Do the students have a clear idea of what is it for? Are they satisfied with this assessment system? In September of 2009 the process of European convergence should be finished and all these troubles should have been solved.
The aim of this paper is to answer the questions that we have just written above and to present our experience and results of the Continuous Assessment implementation in the Public Management and Administration Degree. Moreover we want to learn from the experience of sharing it with the attendees. We actually believe that this could be a great experience to improve our understanding of this form of assessment by the advices and suggestions that probably will arise from the discussion.
Keywords: continuous assessment, european higher education area, public administration and management.