June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Educational Research and Methods
14.891.1 - 14.891.29
Multi-Dimensional Tool for Assessing Student Team Solutions to Model-Eliciting Activities
The effective use of open-ended problems requires reliable and high quality instructor feedback and assessment to substantially boost the quality of student learning and work products. Model- Eliciting Activities (MEAs) are open-ended, realistic, client-driven problems set in engineering contexts requiring teams of students to create a generalizable (shareable, reusable, modifiable) mathematical model for solving the client’s problem. Two significant challenges are associated with the assessment of student team solutions to MEAs: (1) evaluation reliability among multiple instructors and (2) fidelity to what is valued in engineering practice. In this paper, we describe the dimensions of a new assessment tool used by graduate teaching assistants to assess student team work on MEAs in a required first-year engineering course, and we demonstrate its application to a specific MEA implemented in Fall 2008. Further, we assess the reliability of the tool by comparing its application by new and returning graduate teaching assistants to that of an Expert. Finally, we discuss how the results of this study are informing subsequent revisions to the tool and graduate teaching assistant professional development with MEAs.
The need for engineering curricula that develops students’ teaming and communication skills, proficiency in engineering science and design, and abilities to address open-ended problems replete with ambiguity and uncertainty is well recognized1,2. Such curricula should engage students in authentic learning experiences that reflect engineering practice. High quality and reliable feedback and assessment strategies must accompany these learning experiences to ensure that student learning is achieved (e.g. misconceptions are addressed) and the quality of student work increasingly reflects what is valued in engineering practice.
Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs) are one instructional approach to developing these and other competencies3,4. These client-driven, open-ended, team-oriented problems have been implemented in a large (N = 1200-1600) required first-year engineering problem solving and computer tools course since Fall 20025,6. Over 20 different MEAs have been implemented and a number of feedback and assessment strategies have been employed with varying degrees of success6. What these strategies lacked was a clear articulation of core elements of performance valued in engineering practice that could be translated into a rubric (and supporting materials) that could be reliably applied by the 18-20 graduate teaching assistants responsible for assessing student work.
As part of a larger study, a panel of engineering experts identified three core elements of performance for student team work on any MEA: ≠ Appropriateness of the mathematical model. The complexity of the problem must be addressed in the mathematical model. ≠ Attention to audience. The product should clearly and effectively communicate the model to the client. Share-ability is another term used to describe this idea.
Diefes-Dux, H., & Verleger, M., & Zawojewski, J., & Hjalmarson, M. (2009, June), Multidimensional Tool For Assessing Student Team Solutions To Model Eliciting Activities Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5213
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