RUBRIC ASSESSMENT IN A COMPETENCY-BASED LEARNING APPLIED TO FORESTRY DEGREE

The adaptation to the Bologna Process has entailed changes towards a new framework of European convergence: the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in which students are the focus of the learning process. The approach used to teaching and learning was based into learning concrete skills, called Competency-based learning or Competency Based Education. To evaluate the learning level, we developed an outcomes-based assessment rubric which is a novel systematic instrument for documenting improvement in professional skills.

We selected and developed rubrics aimed at introducing specific performance indicators to measure the level of learning and training related to the main proposed competences related to Forestry Degree skills. The rubric assessment has been gradually introduced in a organized and coordinated planning to restructure the Educational planning for the Forestry Degree offered in the Higher Technical School of Agricultural Engineering, located in Albacete (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha).

The rubric assessment proposal was developed by creating several subgroups; each subgroup was conformed of professors involved in teaching of different subjects belonging to different courses of the Forestry Degree. Each subgroup conformed an independent cell which developed a rubric to evaluate and assess a concrete competence. The rubric was created as a matrix defining an objective scaled level of achievements (or understanding) related to a set of quality criteria for a given type of performance (exam, multiple-choice test, oral presentation, technical reports, etc.). In addition, we built an online tool, called SharePoint, to share rubrics and reviewed versions, evaluations and assessment of competences, performances used and other information, including a forum to argue about different points.

The proposed methodology simplifies the process to implement the competency-based learning and helps to the teaching staff to assess competencies included in the objectives of Forestry Degree. The developed rubrics standardized and improved the evaluation method and, at the same time, improved the knowledge of students by clarifying the expectations of their teacher (or trainer) about the proposed performances in each subject. In this way, the Competency-based learning carried out using rubrics, which should be adapted to different degrees, demonstrated as useful tools to implement the educational strategy and to improve results and skills for learning and teaching.