Linking engineering students’ assessment preferences to their learning approaches
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The very nature of an Engineer implies that one has an inherent passion for investigation and problem solving. The secondary school system and to some extent the traditional university system is focused on teacher-centred learning; however, this approach does not ideally foster deep learning approaches, research-based learning (RBL) and teamwork that are vital attributes of any graduate engineer. Previous studies have confirmed that engineering students thrive and feel comfortable with traditional teacher-centred learning, which is focused on exams, and rote learning. These research studies instigated a strong resolve of many engineering educators to implement project/problem-based learning (PBL) approaches in program curriculum in order to enhance graduate outcomes. This study offers one of the first attempts to link engineering students' approaches to learning with their assessment type preferences. The study empirically confirmed the proposition that deep learners also had a greater preference for deep assessment items and surface learners preferred surface assessment methods. Surface learners ranked both surface and deep assessment items on average lower than deep learners, indicating that surface learners do not have the same level of engagement in their learning through assessment in general. The paper concludes with some recommendations for engineering education policy and practice.
Proceedings of the 2011 AAEE Conference
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Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy