Using Multiple Methods in Assessing Oral Communication Skills in the Final Year Project Design Course of an Undergraduate Engineering Program

Using Multiple Methods in Assessing Oral Communication Skills in the Final Year Project Design Course of an Undergraduate Engineering Program

Rohani Othman (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia) and Zubaidah Awang (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1809-1.ch013
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Abstract

Engineering education researcher Rogers (2006) proposed that an assessment of engineering programs should use a multi-method approach to maximize validity and reduce the biasness of any one approach. Based on this reason, this study used two methods in the direct assessment of oral communication skills performance outcome of an undergraduate electrical engineering students’ Final Year Project (FYP) design experience. In the first method, the Oral Communication Assessment Rubrics adapted from Norback et al. (2008) was tested for its reliability, consistency in the scores and ease of use. This was to ensure that the results were descriptive of the expected students’ performance (Miller & Olds, 1999). Once faculty rater reliability was achieved and verified, the rubrics were refined and redrafted to obtain inter-rater scores for the assessment of the oral communication skills during the FYPII seminar presentation. Descriptive statistics were used to draw inferences from the inter-rater scores. In the second method, the researcher used the final grades of these students which were obtained from the faculty end-of-course assessment of their FYPII seminar presentation through the use of the faculty Seminar Evaluation Form (SEF). The scores obtained from SEF were reported in the Course Assessment Summary Report (CASR) in the form of the achieved Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of the students in each department in the Electrical Engineering Faculty (FKE).
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Oral Communication Skills Assessment

Shuman et al. (2005) categorized professional skill outcomes such as communication skills as ‘process skills,’ skills that can be taught and assessed. Assessing student performance to demonstrate accountability has become a necessity in academia. This view supports ABET Criterion 3 which states that, “each accredited engineering program must have an assessment program with documented results. The assessment process must demonstrate that outcomes are important to the mission of the institution and the objectives of the program are being measured” (ABET, 2000, p. 3).

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