Research on Assessment of Learning and Teaching

The assessment of learning and teaching can be viewed as two complementary and overlapping activities that aim to benefit both the quality of student learning and the professional development of the instructor. Assessing learning alone is not sufficient because the ultimate success of students is also dependent upon their motivation and commitment to learning. Similarly, assessing only teaching behaviors and course activities is not sufficient because qualities of the instructor may be appreciated by students but not optimally helpful to their learning and growth. Done in tandem, assessing teaching and learning can help instructors improve and refine their teaching practices and help improve students’ learning and performance.

Students learn in many ways— by seeing and hearing; reflecting and acting; reasoning logically and intuitively; memorizing and visualizing and drawing analogies and building mathematical models; steadily and in fits and starts. Teaching methods also vary. Some instructors lecture, others demonstrate or discuss; some focus on principles and others on applications; some emphasize memory and others understanding. How much a given student learns in a class is governed in part by that student’s native ability and prior preparation but also by the compatibility of his or her learning style and the instructor’s teaching style. Mismatches exist between common learning styles of engineering students and traditional teaching styles of engineering professors. In consequence, students become bored and inattentive in class, do poorly on tests, get discouraged about the courses, the curriculum, and themselves, and in some cases change to other curricula or drop out of school.

Professors, confronted by low test grades, unresponsive or hostile classes, poor attendance and dropouts, know something is not working; they may become overly critical of their students (making things even worse) or begin to wonder if they are in the right profession. Most seriously, society loses potentially excellent engineers.

Dugga is currently conducting research together with a number of universities and research institutes in Europe, the Americas and in Asia. In collaboration with our partner we find answers to our research questions and develop solutions for education and society at large.



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