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Evaluation and measurement of student's final year project based expertise input--a proposal.

Introduction

Project-based learning (PBL) has been recognized for long as a very valuable tool for engineering courses, since it helps students in developing skills that are closely linked to the execution of professional engineering tasks (McDermott et al., 2007). The recognition of this value of PBL has lead to the inclusion of project development activities in engineering courses (Jawitz et al., 2002), being the "Final Year Project" (FYP) the most remarkable of these. In the currently ongoing process of creating the European Higher Education Area (European Ministers of Education 1999), the educational outcomes of university courses are being defined in terms of competences that are to be acquired by the students in order to get their degrees. The practice is similar to Malaysia's university commit for and the OBE has been implemented from the secondary school and continue Significantly, competences related to project management and development seem to be becoming relevant even for non-engineering courses (Gonzalez et al., 2008). In this context, both a definition of the pedagogical content of FYPs in terms of competences and a systematic assessment system linked to those competences are needed. The issue of defining the educational outcomes of FYPs was approached by the authors in a previous work (Fraile et al., 2009). Within that work a set of eleven competences relevant for FYPs were identified, using the basis provided by (Gozalez et al., 2008; Meijers et al., 2005). Also in (Fraile et al., 2009) competences were broken down into specific learning objectives and student tasks to be realized during the FYP were pointed out. However, in authors' view, the question of defining a systematic approach to the evaluation of FYPs has not been satisfactorily solved so far. While it is true that the problem of assessing student projects is not new and that rubrics are becoming a standard for such assessment (Markham et al., 2003), the definition of rubrics for all the assessable aspects of FYPs is cumbersome. Moreover, filling such rubrics could be too time-consuming for the juries of the projects and an excessive level of detail could also mislead the attention of the juries towards too specific aspects of the work, thus making them lose the global view (Bers 2001). Another aspect of the evaluation of FYPs that is not defined yet, to authors' knowledge, is the ranking of competences, that is, the specification of which aspects should contribute the most to the final marks assigned to the students. Although a weighted average of different aspects was proposed in (Teo and Ho 1998), such proposal did not consider competence-based learning; therefore it is not coherent with the current trends in the design of university courses in Europe. Within this paper, the authors propose a system for the assessment of FYPs whose educational outputs have been defined accordingly to (Fraile et al., 2009). For making the proposal, the eleven selected competences were ranked and a different weight was assigned to each one. Also starting from the work in (Fraile et al., 2009), but simplifying the therein described proposal, three moments are defined for the assessment of FYPs: the FYP development process itself (evaluated by the supervisor), the written report and the oral presentation (both evaluated by a jury). Bearing in mind this, the competences that can be evaluated in each moment have been identified and a specific assessment form for each moment is also proposed within the paper. In the design of the forms, both the simplicity and the prevalence of global aspects have been pursued.

Nowadays, implementing Outcome Based Education (OBE) to evaluate course outcomes (CO) and program outcomes (PO) is a standard practice at the Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment (FKAB). This includes the evaluation of the final year degree project (FYP) since FYP is a major component of the undergraduate degree course in Electrical Engineering. The evaluation of FYP mainly consists of two stages. The first stage involves the evaluation of the technical paper and project presentation by a Technical Paper Assessment Panel (TPAP). The second stage involves the evaluation of thesis and work progress by the respective Project Supervisor (PS). These procedures are inconsistence in nature as each stage involves many lecturers from different background of disciplines in the FKAB. Furthermore, there were no specific guidelines for the grading process and lecturers would rely on their experiences, resulting large variance between the seniors and juniors judgments in giving the marks (Hashim & Hashim 2010). To overcome such problem, we proposed a new method to evaluate the research performance by evaluate the achievement of objectives. This can be done by full revision of objectives proposed by committee. The number of achieved objective will determine the project marks.

The Marking Evaluation of Final Year Project:

Step 1: A Formation of Evaluation Committee:

A committee for each program in the Department developed; Microelectronics, Telecommunications and Electrical & Electronics. The committee is consists a number of Professor or Associate Professor that responsible to review the objectives of each student project. Students are separated into several groups according to their respective areas of thrust. Students are asked to complete the research proposal and a few objectives as recommended by their supervisors. Research proposal will be submitted to the Department on the date specified.

Step 2: A Setting of Research Objective:

The objectives set out in each proposal will be discussed by this committee. The number of objectives must meet the qualifications for Bachelor of Engineering standard. This Committee has the authority to reduce, increase or modified the objectives proposed by the students in their proposal. The objectives which are not passing the requirements will be returned back to the students and have to be discussed again with their supervisor. Each objective must have the criteria as in Figure 1. It must be achieved within a year, can be measured and proved, specific on the topics proposed by students and in accordance with the student's academic level. Lastly, the objective must give the impact and contribution to the development and knowledge of students, society and the environment.

Step 3: Through the Achievement of Objective:

For the thesis at the undergraduate level shall not exceed five objectives. Evaluation will be based on the number of objectives have been achieved. For example, if three objectives are achieved, marks scored 75% and if there is no good reason and there is no proposal for additional points. At this time the students need to identify and discuss in detail the problems that caused the objectives are not achieved and the results in the form of recommendations or a diagnosis.

The assessment process students' final year project is based on expert input as a whole is shown in Figure 2.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Step 4: Presentation:

To verify a project done by students and not others, each project must be presented. Performance will be judged by lecturers who will give marks based on the criteria set by the Final Year Project Committee.

Case Study:

The following are some case studies to facilitate understanding of the marking for this proposal.
Case 1                         Title A

Objective Number              5 (upon approval by the committee)

The value of each objective   20%.

Note                          If at the end of the project, the
                              students reached only 4 objectives
                              only, where there is a problem for the
                              fifth objective to achieved, the
                              student's score was 80 only. If he is
                              able to give good reasons and
                              proposals so it can be considered for
                              a 5-10 score again.

Case 2                        Title B

Objective Number              4 (upon approval by the committee)

The value of each objective   25%.

Note                          If at the end of the project, the
                              students reached only 4 objectives
                              only, where there is a problem for
                              the fifth objective to achieved, the
                              student's score was 75 only. If he is
                              able to give good reasons and
                              proposals so it can be considered for
                              a 5-15 score again.


Aspect to be seen if an objective not be achieved is shown in Figure 3. Each objective that is not achieved must submit the main reasons causing the failure, other factors also cause a failure and the theory behind the failure. Next, students would need to propose solutions that can be done if the objectives to be achieved. In addition, students must submit the proposal together with the implementation, constraints and obstacles faced if the proposal should be implemented. In general, these components are shown in Figure 3 below.

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

Conclusion:

This paper proposes a method to evaluate the final year project based on objective targets which are reviewed by the Evaluation Committee. The score of student achievement are based on the number of objectives that are achieved and the precise analysis is required if the objectives are not achieved. This method is the simplest proposed method. This method also facilitates the students' research work because the targets are based on objective and clearly understood to be achieved.

References

McDermott, K., A. Nafalski and O. Gol, 2007. Project-based teaching in engineering programs. in 37th Annu. Frontiers in Educ. Conf.--Global Eng.: Knowledge Without Borders, Opportunities Without Passports, pp: S1D-11-S1D-17.

Jawitz, J., S. Shay and R. Moore, 2002. Management and assessment of final year projects in engineering. International Journal of Engineering Education, 18(4): 472-478.

European Ministers of Education, 1999. The European higher education area. European Union, Bologna (Italy), Joint Declaration.

http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/ hogeronderwijs/bologna/documents/MDC/BOLOGNADECLARATION1.pdf.

Gonzalez, J. and R. Wagenaar, 2008. Tuning educational structures in Europe. Universities' contribution to the Bologna process. 2nd ed. Universidad de Deusto.

http://www.tuning.unideusto.org/tuningeu/index.php.

Fraile, R., I. Arguelles, J.C.G. de Sande, J.M.G. Arriola, J.I.G. Llorente, L.A. Encinas, D.O. del Campo and C.B. Peces, 2009. Definition of the educational outcomes of final year projects. International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED), Valencia, Spain.

Meijers, A., C. van Overveld and J. Perrenet, 2005. Criteria for Academic Bachelor's and Master's Curricula, Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology and University of Twente.

http://w3.ieis.tue.nl/uploads/media/AC ENG web.pdf.

Markham, T., J. Larmer and J. Ravitz, 2003. Project-based learning handbook. 2nd ed. Buck Institute for Educ.

Bers, T., 2001. Measuring and reporting competencies. New Directions for Institutional Research, 110: 29-40.

Teo, C. and D. Ho, "A systematic approach to the implementation of final year project in an electrical engineering undergraduate course," IEEE Trans. Educ., 41(1): 25-30.

Hashim, N. and Hashim, H. 2010. Outcome based education performance evaluation on final year degree project. Proceedings of the 7th WSEAS international conference on engineering education. ISBN: 978-960-474-202-8.

Corresponding Auther : Mohammad Syuhaimi, Research Advancement Strategic and Planning (RASP) Department of Electrical, Electronic and System Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment.

(1) Mohammad Syuhaimi (2) Ab-Rahman

(1) Research Advancement Strategic and Planning (RASP) Department of Electrical, Electronic and System Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment.

(2) Spectrum Technology Research Group (SPECTECH) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan.

Mohammad Syuhaimi Ab-Rahman: Evaluation and Measurement of Student's Final Year Project Based Expertise Input--A Proposal
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Title Annotation:Original Article
Author:Ab-Rahman, Mohammad Syuhaimi
Publication:Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Nov 1, 2011
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