University College Leuven (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 2303-2311
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
To estimate the knowledge of numeracy skills and sciences of aspirant students interested in a Professional Bachelor in Chemistry (C), Biomedical laboratory technology (BLT) or Nutrition and Dietetics (N&D) at University College Leuven, Belgium, an Online Assessment Tool (OAT) is developed. This evaluation tool is suited to stratify incoming students according to their mathematical and scientific level and makes aspirants aware of the basic knowledge in mathematics and sciences required for a successful study course [1]. The OAT will be further optimized and validated to (i) determine the required foreknowledge for candidate students, (ii) estimate a potential predictive value between the secondary school curriculum and first term exam results at University College and (iii) assess the study progress in each Bachelor program.

Materials and Methods:
Profiles of candidate students from secondary school are analyzed for their curriculum in mathematics and sciences. A matrix comparing the course contents of mathematical and scientific courses (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) of secondary school and University College was set up to define four difficulty levels from level zero to level three, meaning insufficient to excellent knowledge, respectively. Thereafter, a databank with mathematical and scientific multiple choice questions (at least 90 items) of different levels was generated and validated. The OAT was developed and validated by both students terminating secondary school as aspirant students at Leuven University College. A comparison of OAT results of incoming students (2012 – 2013) with their exam results from the first term passed in January 2013, was made.

Analysis of profiles of candidate students from 2011-2012 show that (i) 9 % of ASO students and 14 % of TSO students with moderate curriculum in mathematics and sciences at secondary school start a professional Bachelor in Chemistry, (ii) 29 % of ASO students and 39 % of TSO students with moderate curriculum in mathematics and sciences start a professional Bachelor in BLT, whereas (iii) 76 % of ASO students and 79 % of TSO students with moderate curriculum in mathematics and sciences initiates N&D. Most students with limited knowledge in mathematics and sciences scoring levels 0 and 1 in OAT, fail in the first term exams of Mathematics, Mechanics, Chemistry and Biology. Though this result is not statistically significant. In addition, reaching the levels 2 and 3 at the OAT is no guarantee to pass this first term exams since no correlation was found hitherto. More data are required to estimate the predictive value of OAT.

The OAT was concluded a valuable tool to support potential students considering starting a Professional Bachelor in chemistry, Biomedical laboratory technology (BLT) or Nutrition and dietetics (N&D) for both students as lecturers. Further data collection and analysis are required to estimate a potential correlation between the results of OAT and first term exam results. More data will be collected and analyzed to evaluate the possibility of slow track versus fast track for certain courses in the curriculum of the University College.

[1] Vlaamse Onderwijsraad. Advies over de studiekeuze van het secundair naar het hoger onderwijs. Available via dd 28 maart 2013. Accessed July 10th, 2013.
Assessment, mathematics, sciences, students.