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Assessment As The Driver Behind Operationalising Operations Research Teaching

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Assessment & Quality; Accreditation in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.232.1 - 10.232.7



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Paper Authors

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Johan W Joubert

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Dolf Steyn

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Assessment as the driver behind operationalising operations research teaching

Dr. AB (Dolf) Steyn & Mr. JW (Johan) Joubert

University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa

ABSTRACT: Assessment is often viewed as a nasty afterthought to quantify learning. A cycle of action research and repeated adaptations to a semester project course at the University of Pretoria in South Africa indicate that the assessment process does, in fact, guide and enhance the learning experience. This paper reports on a case where a project was used to address relevancy issues of industrial engineering practitioners of operations research. A rubric was used as assessment tool in order to guide learners in terms of required competence. The applicable program deals with operations research which is often perceived to be demising as a decision support tool in industry. However, this is not actually true, as the relevancy and interdisciplinary nature of operations research makes it an indispensable part of operations management. What rather should be asked is how operations research is introduced and taught to undergraduate industrial engineering students. The results of our research indicate that learner perceptions and their resulting actions during the study period are indeed influenced by the selected assessment method.


Although theory readily acknowledges that assessment should drive learning, the reality is often that assessment almost comes as an afterthought in order to quantify learning. At the University of Pretoria, a combination of factors lay the foundation for the redesign of a module. While two of these factors are discussed under the sub headings CDIO and Critical cross fields, the bulk of the description of the redesign is under the sub heading Operations Research.


The CDIO INITIATIVE™ is an innovative educational framework for producing a new generation of engineers. It provides students with an education stressing engineering fundamentals set in the context of Conceiving — Designing — Implementing — Operating real-world systems and products.

The CDIO Initiative was developed with input from academics, industry, engineers and students. It is universally adaptable for all engineering schools with collaborators throughout the world adopting CDIO as the framework of their curricular planning and outcome–based assessment. [1] The University of Pretoria, as the CDIO regional co-ordinator for Southern Africa, were pleasantly surprised to find that while we did not formally follow CDIO guidelines previously, a large percentage of what we have been doing based on the South African change to outcomes based education, was in fact well aligned and in keeping with CDIO thinking. Isolated efforts, no matter how well intended could hardly hope to have the same impact as international initiatives. As such this paper gladly shares a “Pre – CDIO” initiative which falls nicely into the realm of CDIO education. This is done to emphasize that the adoption of CDIO need not be


Joubert, J. W., & Steyn, D. (2005, June), Assessment As The Driver Behind Operationalising Operations Research Teaching Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14624

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