22 SES 14 A, Modeling and Measuring Academic Competencies in Higher Education
There is a disproportionately high amount of drop-outs in mechanical engineering degree programs (cf. Heublein et al., 2009, p. 159) all over Europe. One of the main causes seems to be performance problems in the basic engineering courses like engineering mechanics, (EM). We argue that feedback might be an approach to decrease the amounts and can only be effective if the information of the lecturer about the students’ state of learning is reliable, valid, and of diagnostic value. In order to provide such information, an EM competence model has been developed as a basis for in-depth assessment. Our EM assessment instrument consists of 80 open static items equally distributed over four cognitive processes (abstract real objects to mechanical models (1), formulate mathematical equations based on these models (2), solve these equations (3) and finally interpret the outcomes of the calculations in terms of implications for real objects (4)). Solutions of 800 German students at the end of their 1st semester were rated using a 3-fold scheme: *right, * partially right (appropriate approach), * wrong. Besides psychometric analyses yielding to results on individual performance the “partially right”-solutions were of special interest: We analyze them with respect to “misconceptions” (e.g. mixing up force and impetus, cf. Duit, et al. 2001). Analyses of the data collected in January 2014 revealed (not very surprisingly) comparable misconceptions as known from studies with high school students. Additionally new pre/misconceptions arose (due to the new content); e.g. uncertainties about the amount and kind of degrees of freedom. We would present our findings on these “new” pre/misconceptions and would be particularly interested in a discussion on the potential of using our items and methods of analyzing for formative assessment.
Duit, R., Roth, W.M., Komorek, M. & Wilbers, J. (2001). Fostering Conceptual Change by Analogies - Between Scylla and Carybdis. Learning and Instruction, 11, 283-303. Frey, A., Hartig, J., & Rupp, A. A. (2009). Booklet Designs in Large-Scale Assessments of Student Achievement: Theory and Practice. Educational measurement: issues and practice, 28(3), 39–53. Heublein, U., Hutzsch, C., Schreiber, J., Sommer, D., & Besuch, G. (2009). Ursachen des Studienabbruchs in Bachelor- und in herkömmlichen Studiengängen: Ergebnisse einer bundesweiten Befragung von Exmatrikulierten des Studienjahres 2007/08 (HIS:Projektbericht). Hannover.
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