Student professional development: Competency-based learning and assessment in an undergraduate industrial technology course

Date
2012-01-01
Authors
Baughman, Jacqulyn
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Steven Mickelson
Thomas Brumm
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Altmetrics
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Abstract

Student professional development attempts to address the gap between academic experiences and employer expectations. This study examined student professional development utilizing competency-based development and assessment within an academic environment. An undergraduate course in lean/cellular manufacturing at Iowa State University served as the site for this mixed methods study. Degree program outcomes linked to workplace competencies were the foundation for implementation of a 360-degree assessment process. A pre-course survey showed that students had no prior experience with the 360-degree process. The workplace competencies' key action items were assessed during the semester using pre- and post-assessment formats. Analysis utilized paired t-testing to detected significant differences between the pre- and post-assessments average values. Results indicated professional development gains were achieved through higher post assessment values in specific key action items within the competencies.

Students indicated that their 360-degree feedback experience had issues in the areas of benefits, difficulties, learning, fairness and accuracy, as well as impact on professional development. Self-reflections captured students' perceived lean knowledge gains, peer assessments as fair/accurate and valuable, and that the most helpful to their professional development was the industry project mentor experience.

Overall, this mixed methods study provided a framework to measure and understand professional student development through: (a) competency-based assessments, and (b) captured student experiences.

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