June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Educational Research and Methods
14.239.1 - 14.239.11
Assessing Growth of Engineering Students Using E-Portfolios: A MDL-Based Approach
Overall premise of the work presented is to study the potential of e-portfolios as a viable mechanism for student reflection and assessment of growth on attributes that are part of becoming a World Class Engineer. These attributes relate to becoming: 1) Aware of the World, 2) Solidly Grounded, 3) Technically Broad, 4) Innovative, 5) Effective in Team Operations, and 6) Effective in Leadership Positions.
Our project team has collected data from engineering student subjects who were enrolled in two different courses, and at various stages of their education. These portfolios were created by students intending to major in a wide range of engineering disciplines. One- way ANOVAs and post-hoc tests were utilized to examine differences between the engineering discipline and students’ class standing (i.e., first-year students, sophomores, juniors, and seniors). Overall, our analysis indicates that our rubrics based on Alexander’s Model of Domain Learning (MDL) 2-4 are effective in assessing student development as captured in their e-portfolios.
Introduction and Background
E-portfolio development is a pedagogical tool that is promising as a means for promoting active learning. Portfolios are based on constructivist theory, which supports the principles of student-centered instruction and encourages instructional practice that fosters active learner involvement. Although portfolios have only recently become popular across academic disciplines, the fields of Arts and Education have used this practice to showcase students' work for some time. Consistent with the recent interest in the use of portfolios, in ABET criterion 3, portfolios are mentioned as one way to document and assess student outcomes 1.
A portfolio is a collection of work (“artifacts”) that demonstrates certain competencies from which the student has selected a subset to demonstrate growth over time. The portfolio contains a reflection on each artifact as well as an overall reflection on the content of the portfolio (see for example reference 6).One of the most important advantages of portfolios is their potential to engage students in intentional learning, resulting in an increased ability in life-long learning 7-12. Portfolios are expected to have a positive effect on attitudinal, motivational, affective, and professional outcomes 13. These may include increased self-confidence, increased awareness of professional identity, more positive attitudes toward profession, improved career-decision self-efficacy, and increased ability to build a network of professionals. DiBiase13 described many other potential benefits of e-portfolios including an increased learning effectiveness for students, the opportunity for faculty to leverage student motivation and align objectives and evaluation strategies, and the opportunity for a university to respond to calls for greater accountability and outcomes-based accreditation. While students gather evidence of their own learning, ideally they will go through the steps described in previous work
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