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TOWARDS A NEW EDUCATIVE PARADIGM: A COMPETENCIES EVALUATION SYSTEM

M.I. Mariscal Crespo1, D. Merino Navarro1, F.J. Mena Navarro1, R. Camacho Bejarano1, I. Paladini Bracho1, A. Martin Mariscal2

1University of Huelva (SPAIN)
2University of Sevilla (SPAIN)
Introduction
The European Education Directives insist in the need of considering generic, specific and transversal competencies in the pre-graduate education. The concept of competency includes the overall capacity and technical, methodological, social and participative knowledge that the person needs to achieve to respond to the current professional market demands. These competencies need to be observable, achievable and measurable through an appropriate system which assesses individual performance. Consequently, it is essential the implementation of appropriate methods for evaluating the grade of acquisition of this competencies at academic and professional level.

Methodology
This experience was developed with around five hundred students at Master level, and includes the development and implementation of a new evaluation system for generic and specific competencies. The assessment tool has a flowchart with four options that covers a summary of the grade of competency acquisition and a partial and final mark for each competency in the oral presentation of the subject final dissertation. This evaluation system has been carried out during four academic years, from 2006 until 2009 in the Universities of Huelva and Alicante.
The use of this tool can be applied to four competency levels: knowledge development, knowledge integration and interaction, and the global performance. The results obtained can be classified according to the competency level, from an unsatisfactory achievement to an expert performance. This system can be used by the own student for a self-evaluation, by other colleagues for a reciprocal evaluation and by teachers to achieve a global perspective of the competency acquisition. Finally, a partial and overall mark is obtained and used for the subject assessment.

Results
The results obtained were positively considered by students and teachers, and it can be applied in other settings and disciplines. This system has been recently introduced by other professors in other areas of knowledge and is currently under re-evaluation.
Despite the benefits observed, this system is not exempted of difficulties. The main problems found are: the meticulous work required to perform it adequately, the time consumption and the experience required for teachers to implement it.

Conclusions and implications for practice
This system is a useful tool which facilitates the evaluation of competencies. Teachers and students seem to be satisfied with the experience, letting them know the evaluation criteria to reach the subject objectives prior the final assessment. The results measurement is developed from a clearly defined system which includes all the important aspects related to the competency acquisition.