ASSESSMENT OF WORK PERFORMED BY PAIRED STUDENTS: A PEDAGOGICAL EXPERIENCE
Technical University of Madrid (UPM) (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:"Teamwork" is one of the abilities most valued by employers. In Souto&Bravo (Revista de Educación, 346, 2008) we describe the process of adapting to the Bolonia Agreement ECTS derived methodologies (for ongoing assessment), a class in computer programming for students in a technical degree (Naval and Oceanic Engineering, Technical University of Madrid - UPM) not specifically dedicated to computing. As a further step in this process we have emphasized cooperative learning. For this, the students were paired and the work of each pair was evaluated via surprise tests taken individually or
jointly but graded jointly. Here we document this experience, discussing methodological aspects, describing indicators for measuring the impact of these methodologies on the educational experience, and reporting on the students' opinion of it.
The assessment of the transversal competence "teamwork" is not paid enough attention in general in university degrees. When it is a part of the assessment, such assessment is usually not treated with rigor. This may be due to the complications that arise when it comes to apply to every individual the outcome of a collective work as a concrete mark. We have tried to implement the assessment of this competence in an "Introduction to Computer Programming" course. Since the students are organized in pairs in order for the group size being physically more compact and in order for the students to acquire skills through "pair programming", the size of the teams has been limited to two members. The pairs are formed by free choice and the students are made aware of the responsibility their election carries. As aforementioned, their paired work is assessed via some surprise tests graded jointly, which impact in a great percentage of their final grade. At least one of the tests is taken individually and the minimum mark in the pair applies to both members. Such methodology fosters the cooperation between the team mates during the learning process. On top of this, since these tests can not be made if one of the pair is absent, the attendance to the lessons is the highest amongst the subjects corresponding the same academic year. With this methodology, the consecution of the longitudinal competencies (Programming) is linked to the progress in the the transversal one (paired work).
The outcomes we have obtained during these years have been positive, as the students remained implicated in the learning process until the end, stimulated by the sense of mutual responsibility, gained with this assessment method. In this paper we document our experience, discussing methodological aspects, describing the problems we?ve been through, we show statistics related with the distribution of the individual and pair grades, we provide indicators which weight the impact of this methodology in the educative intervention and exposing some of the opinions of the students. We will also include data that demonstrates the impact that this assessment method has in class attendance in comparison with other subjects of the same academic year.
Keywords: Teamwork, assessment, transversal competencies.