Improving the Assessment of Transferable Skills in Chemistry Through Evaluation of Current Practice
The development and assessment of transferable skills acquired by students, such as communication and teamwork skills, within undergraduate degrees is being increasingly emphasised. Many instructors have designed and implemented assessment tasks with the aim to provide students with opportunities to acquire and demonstrate these skills. We have now applied our previously published tool to evaluate whether assessment tasks allow students to demonstrate achievement of these transferable skills. The tool allows detailed evaluation of the alignment of any assessment item against the claimed set of learning outcomes. We present here two examples in which use of the tool provides evidence for the level of achievement of transferable skills and a third example of use of the tool to inform curriculum design and pedagogy, with the goal of increasing achievement of communication and teamwork bench marks. Implications for practice in assessment design for learning are presented.
The project team acknowledges the collegial engagement in the workshops, activities and outcomes of the Assessing the Assessments project by Australian academics, particularly those who shared their assessment items and course/unit information. We thank Carmel McNaught, who contributed extensively to the project. We acknowledge funding from the Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT ID14-3652).
- Barrie, S. C., Hughes, C., Crisp, G., & Bennison, A. (2012). Assessing and assuring Australian graduate learning outcomes: Principles and practices within and across disciplines. https://ltr.edu.au/resources/SP10_1879_Barrie_Report%20_2013.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Belbin Associates. (2018). The nine Belbin team roles. https://www.belbin.com/about/belbin-team-roles/. Accessed October 28, 2018.
- Bennett, D., & Evans, C. (2018). Using critical reflection to get the most out of your learning. https://developingemployability.edu.au/tools/learning-experiences-critical-reflection/. Accessed December 2018.
- Biggs, J., & Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for quality learning at university: What the student does (3rd ed.). Maidenhead: SRHE and Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Bodner, G. M. (2016). Introduction to plenary session. Greeley, CO: Biennial Conference on Chemical Education.Google Scholar
- Committee on Professional Training. (2015). Undergraduate professional education in chemistry: ACS guidelines and evaluation procedures for bachelor’s degree programs. American Chemical Society. https://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/about/governance/committees/training/2015-acs-guidelines-for-bachelors-degree-programs.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Confederation of British Industry. (2016). The right combination: CBI/Pearson education and skills survey. http://www.cbi.org.uk/cbi-prod/assets/File/pdf/cbi-education-and-skills-survey2016.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Crebert, G., Patrick, C.-J., Cragnolini, V., Smith, C., Worsfold, K., & Webb, F. (2011). Griffith graduate attributes professional skills toolkit. Brisbane: Griffith University.Google Scholar
- European Chemistry Thematic Network. (2016). Chemistry Eurobachelor label: Guidelines for applications. http://files.gandi.ws/gandi22757/file/1-eurobachelor_guidelines-1612.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Gabelica, C., Van den Bossche, P., De Maeyer, S., Segers, M., & Gijselaers, W. (2014). The effect of team feedback and guided reflexivity on team performance change. Learning and Instruction, 34, 86–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2014.09.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gibbs, G., & Simpson, C. (2004). Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 2004–05, 3–31.Google Scholar
- Hager, P., Holland, S., & Beckett, D. (2002). Enhancing the learning and employability of graduates: The role of generic skills. https://www.bhert.com/publications/position-papers/B-HERTPositionPaper09.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Jones, S. M., Yates, B. F., & Kelder, J.-A. (2011). Science learning and teaching academic standards statement. https://ltr.edu.au/resources/altc_standards_SCIENCE_240811_v3_0.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Knight, P. (2007). Fostering and assessing ‘wicked’ competences. http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/sites/www.open.ac.uk.opencetl/files/files/ecms/web-content/Knight-(2007)-Fostering-and-assessing-wicked-competences.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Knight, P., & Page, A. (2007). The assessment of ‘wicked’ competences. http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/sites/www.open.ac.uk.opencetl/files/files/ecms/web-content/knight-and-page-(2007)-The-assessment-of-wicked-competences.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Koh, E., Hong, H., & Seah, J. (2014). An analytic frame and multi-method approach to measure teamwork competency. Paper presented at the 14th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies.Google Scholar
- Lawrie, G. A., & Grøndahl, L. (2015). Wiki technologies and communities: New approaches to assessing individual and collaborative learning in the chemistry laboratory. In J. García-Martínez & E. Serrano-Torresgrosa (Eds.), Chemistry education: Best practices, opportunities and trends (pp. 671–691). Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co.Google Scholar
- Lee, N., & Loton, D. J. (2015). Capstone curriculum across disciplines: Synthesising theory, practice and policy to provide practical tools for curriculum design. https://altf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Lee_N_NSTF_report_2015.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Mezirow, J. (1990). How critical reflection triggers transformative learning. In J. Mezirow (Ed.), Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: A guide to transformative and emancipatory learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Ohland, M. W., Loughry, M. L., Woehr, D. J., Bullard, L. G., Felder, R. M., & Finelle, C. J. (2013). The comprehensive assessment of team member effectiveness: Development of a behaviorally anchored rating scale for self- and peer evaluation. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 11, 609–630. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2010.0177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- OpenLearn (Producer). (2018). Working in groups and teams. https://www.open.edu/openlearn/money-management/management/leadership-and-management/working-groups-and-teams/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab. Accessed October 26, 2018.
- Pyke, S., O’Brien, G., Yates, B., & Buntine, M. (2014). Chemistry academic standards statement—Revised. http://chemnet.edu.au/sites/default/files/u39/CHEMISTRY_Academic_Standards_Accreditation_Trial.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Sarkar, M., Overton, T., Thompson, C., & Rayner, G. (2016). Graduate employability: Views of recent science graduates and employers. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 24, 31–48.Google Scholar
- Schmid, S., Schultz, M., Priest, S. J., O’Brien, G., Pyke, S. M., Bridgeman, A., et al. (2016). Assessing the assessments: Development of a tool to evaluate assessment items in chemistry according to learning outcomes. In M. Schultz, S. Schmid, & T. Holme (Eds.), Technology and assessment strategies for improving student learning in chemistry (pp. 225–244). Washington, DC: American Chemical Society.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schultz, M., Mitchell Crow, J., & O’Brien, G. (2013). Outcomes of the Chemistry Discipline Network mapping exercises: Are the threshold learning outcomes met? International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 21, 81–91.Google Scholar
- The University of Sydney. (2016). 2016–2020 strategic plan. Sydney. https://sydney.edu.au/dam/intranet/documents/strategy-and-planning/strategic-plan-2016-20.pdf. Accessed October 29, 2018.
- Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.Google Scholar
- Wolfe, J., & Powell, E. (2014). Strategies for dealing with slacker and underperforming teammates in class projects. Paper presented at the 2014 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference (IPCC), 13–15 October 2014.Google Scholar