COMPARED PERFORMANCE OF INTERACTIVE GROUPAL SEMINAR STRATEGIES IN ENGINEERING STUDIES
This paper proposes a novel approach in the evaluation of learning processes based on interactive groupal seminars. Groupal seminars are a very useful technique for the alumni knowledge building in line with the new challenges for the European Higher Education Space based on Bologna spirit of including more interactive classes. The herein proposed technique targets to obtain a deeper knowledge of the skills acquired by decorrelating the group evaluation scores evaluation from the individual scores by different approaches.
Interactive seminars with cooperative learning divided in four phases are proposed, where student work in small groups of up to five people to solve a proposed exercise. In the first part of the seminar the alumni listen to the professor explanation of theoretical concepts related with the problem that will be proposed afterwards. In the second phase the students work in group trying to solve the proposed problem, and in the third step give the solution to the professor that will return it solved back in the next session. The fourth and last phase consists on the exposition of the problem solution by the lecturer. This technique was introduced in 2006/07 in the subject Análisis de Sistemas Contínuos, in Telecommunication Engineering Degree at Escuela Politécnica Superior de Gandia (UPV), and the presented results have been tabulated from the two last academic years comprising more than 300 students.
The described groupal seminar includes four techniques for individual student decorrelation:
1. The first decorrelation technique evaluates the results obtained by the group during the groupal seminar, taking into account the quality the intermediate steps used by the student to solve the problem (Si) and if the correct solution of the problem is achieved (Ss).
2. A second technique is based on evaluating the participation of each student inside the group. During the second phase of the seminar, the professor assigns an individual score (Sp) to each student depending on its participation inside each group. The final score is given by the score obtained in point 1 weighted by the individual score Sf=Sp*(Si+Ss).
3. The third technique is based on a percentile evaluation for the group and session, where student groups must be different in each groupal seminar session. This ensures each student interacts with different students throughout the semester. Small groups are formed in different ways: randomly (i.e. by seat proximity), teacher-selected or student-selected. The individual scores are extracted from the percentile of the group scores over all sessions on different group environment. If a large number of scores are recorded, the final score of each student is precisely the percentile above the mean of the class.
4. The last technique takes into account on peer-to-peer student evaluation at group level. Each student gives a score to each student inside the same group. When a given score is recorded for the student in different groups, this correction factor is accurate.
The overall subject results after introducing the groupal seminar show a 12% increase in alumni passing the subject. The feasibility of this method is demonstrated in a case study of 15 alumni. Comparing scores obtained from the groupal work including the correction by the four decorrelation techniques with the individual score in the final exam a maximum variance of 0.22 is obtained. This indicates the suitability of the approaches proposed.