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Assessment Of Students' Oral Communication Skills: Do Students And Workplace Supervisors Rely On General Response Patterns?

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Assessment

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

13.238.1 - 13.238.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3252

Download Count

61

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Paper Authors

biography

Mieke Schuurman Pennsylvania State University

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Mieke Schuurman is an engineering education research associate with the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education in the College of Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. She received her Masters and PhD in Social & Organizational Psychology from the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). Her work focuses on the enhancement of engineering education. She is a member of ASEE and WEPAN, and actively involved in ASEE's Cooperative Education Division as their Research Chair. She has presented her work at annual conferences of ASEE, WEPAN, and CEIA, and published in the Journal of Engineering Education, the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, the European Journal of Social Psychology, and the European Review of Social Psychology.

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biography

Laura L. Pauley Pennsylvania State University

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Laura L. Pauley, Arthur L. Glenn Professor of Engineering Education and professor of mechanical engineering, joined the The Pennsylvania State
University faculty in 1988. From 2000 to 2007, she served as the Professor-in-Charge of Undergraduate Programs in Mechanical and Nuclear
Engineering. In 2003, Laura received the Penn State Undergraduate Program Leadership Award. Dr. Pauley teaches courses in the thermal sciences and conducts research in computational fluid mechanics and engineering education. She received degrees in mechanical engineering from University of Illinois (B.S. in 1984) and Stanford University (M.S. in 1985 and Ph.D. in 1988).

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biography

Dennis Gouran Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Gouran is professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Labor Studies and Employment Relations in the College of the Liberal Arts at The Pennsylvania State University.

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

Assessment of Students' Oral Communication Skills: Do Students and Workplace Supervisors Rely on General Response Patterns?

Abstract

This paper reports a test of the hypothesis that students and supervisors rely on a general response pattern when assessing various aspects of oral communication skills. The study is a follow-up to our pilot conducted in 2006; both studies were partially funded by the Engineering Information Foundation. It is important to know whether students and supervisors evaluate each single aspect of oral communication skills individually or that they rely on a general answer pattern. This paper shows that supervisors do not seem to evaluate the various aspects but rather rely on their general impression of the students’ oral communication abilities, while students distinguish between different aspects of oral communication skills when they evaluate their own skills. This is important information, because students will not be able to glean from the supervisors’ assessments which aspects they will need to improve to become better communicators.

Introduction

This paper reports a test of the hypothesis that students and supervisors rely on a general response pattern when assessing various aspects of oral communication skills. The study is a follow-up to our pilot conducted in 2006; both studies were partially funded by the Engineering Information Foundation. It is important to know whether students and supervisors take the individual items of an instrument seriously when they assess oral communication skills. If they rely on a general answer pattern instead of evaluating the various aspects of oral communication, then students will not be able to glean from the answers which aspects they will need to improve to become better communicators. In other words, then the administering of the instrument will not add much pedagogical value.

As part of a larger project that aims to address the need for improved communication skills for engineering undergraduates, the authors of this paper piloted an oral communication skills instrument with co-op and intern students and their supervisors at the employer site in the summer of 2006. This pilot was reported at the 2007 ASEE national conference.1

Engineering students at Pennsylvania State University take a speech course as part of their general education requirements. As explained in last year’s publication, this course was not very effective in that co-op employers did not give students higher scores on the ability to communicate effectively if they had completed the speech course compared to students who did not complete the course yet. The Engineering Cooperative Education and Professional Internship Program, the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences have collaborated to develop a speech course geared toward engineering. Results of a pilot with this course will be presented elsewhere in the ASEE proceedings.2

Schuurman, M., & Pauley, L. L., & Gouran, D. (2008, June), Assessment Of Students' Oral Communication Skills: Do Students And Workplace Supervisors Rely On General Response Patterns? Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3252

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