June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Minorities in Engineering
Collaborative learning supports the development of skills such as leadership, effective communication, and conflict resolution. To evaluate collaborative learning in the context of teamwork, peer evaluations are widely used in different learning environments. Although this type of instrument has helped to address disparities in work distribution (i.e. freeriding), minority biases have not been explored in detail. Due to its importance in collaborative learning, this study explores minority bias in peer evaluations applied in a freshman cornerstone course at a School of Engineering. Each semester 750 students enroll in the course, with around 25% being females, 15% coming from low-income families who enroll through an alternative admission program, and 20% coming from none metropolitan areas in a country that is highly centralized.
In this course, collaborative learning is key to initiate freshmen into engineering design practices by following a user-centered design process. It is expected that students develop the ability to identify and solve a real problem regarding diverse contextual factors, and the ability to work successfully in a team. Concerning assessment methods, the course measures students’ performance at an individual and team level. At the latter, students are required to submit different project deliverables as the course progresses. After each deliverable students are peer assessed in order to grade their individual contribution to the teamwork. The peer assessment considers three different aspects: contribution to team meetings, contribution to the working environment, and individual contribution outside the meetings.
Along these lines, this study used descriptive and inferential statistics techniques to analyze if bias exists when peer assessing minorities. 238 teams were analyzed, which were composed by 2.057 freshmen that completed this cornerstone course during three consecutive years. Preliminary findings show that bias exists when peer-assessing low-income minority students who enrolled through an alternative admission process and that there might be bias toward students who come from none metropolitan areas. Females were assessed higher compared to the male students’ averages. Future work implies the design of interventions to address the issues within these results.
Cortázar, C., & Hilliger, I. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Minority Bias in Peer Evaluations at a Freshman-level Engineering Cornerstone Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33638
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