M. Leiva-Brondo, R.M. Peiró, J. Cebolla-Cornejo, A.M. Pérez-de-Castro

Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
Skill and outcome assessment in higher education is one of the main objectives nowadays in bachelor and master degrees in the University. Knowledge of contemporary issues is one of these outcomes that University degrees have to include in their programs according to governmental regulations and accreditation agencies. Traditional evaluation activities are not the more suitable to assess this outcome, thus non-traditional strategies should be used. Self-, peer- and co-assessment are ones of the tools than can be used because they involve the students in their own assessment and the assessment of their partners. In this way, students are more aware of the process of learning enhancing their acquisition of outcomes. Although new technologies can facilitate the use of these assessment tools, they are usually quite time-consuming for the teacher; so, they are applied in small groups of students such as those in most master degree subjects. In this report, self-, peer- and teacher assessment was used to evaluate knowledge of contemporary issues outcome in a plant breeding master subject with less than 10 students during two years. For ten modules of the fifteen of the subject, the students had to make an exposition of a scientific paper related to the subject and devote to a contemporary issue. Prior to the presentation, the general context of the module was presented in every session by the teacher. Next session, the students made their five minutes presentation and partners and teacher asked questions to each of them in order to evaluate the knowledge of the topic and also solve doubts. Students had a detailed rubric to evaluate presentations (evaluating communication, content, duration and comprehension). After all the presentations were exposed, each student had to evaluate at home with a scale from 1 to 5 (unacceptable to excellent), using a web-sakai-based tool, his/her presentation and his/her partners presentations. Self, peer and teacher evaluation results were send to the students without revealing the names of the evaluators. The results showed that students are usually stricter with their own work and the other students’ work than the teacher. As a consequence, the percentage of every evaluation in the final mark has to be carefully assessed. Students answer oral surveys at the end of the subject and they thought that the system is useful and not only made them more aware of the assessment method but also increased the knowledge of contemporary issues. This tool can be used to assess other skills as effective communication or even team work if presentations are made by more than one student. For bigger groups, this technique is quite time consuming, so presentations should be done outside the classroom through web tools to be effective.