The University of Sydney has introduced a program of engaging engineering students throughout their degree program in diverse forms of self-selected exposure to, and engagement with, professional practice. To gain recognition of completed activities students are required to submit “claims” that include identification of the core competencies that were developed and demonstrated during the activity, along with a detailed reflection on their learning. Given that the claims are highly individualised and often unsupervised, assessment is predominantly limited to evaluation of the reflections along with evidence of the activity. A key question in the program relates to the validity of the assertions made by student regarding the competencies that have been demonstrated. In this paper we report on an analysis that compares student claims regarding competencies that were developed with the language contained within their reflections, and the extent to which those reflections focused on the competencies specifically being claimed. The results suggest that for claims related to some competencies, such as team skills, the student reflections do indeed tend to include a stronger focus on that competency. Conversely, for other competencies, such as understanding of the underpinning sciences and engineering fundamentals, the reflections are much less clearly connected to the competency. This may be the result of greater diversity of understanding, but we also consider the possibility that it may relate to less clarity by students regarding the language used in reflecting on these competencies, and the implications of this for the development of their understanding.
Lowe, D., & Kadi, A. (2023). Validity Of Student Professional Practice Competency Claims. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/YQKC-3V32
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