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ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECTS OF TRAINING IN A METHODICAL WORKSHOP OF A HIGHER SCHOOL TEACHER




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Educating students is just one of the stages of lifelong learning. Determining the outcomes and the possibility to describe achievements in a standardized manner is an element of changes that allow for mobility of higher education in the European Union [1, 21].

A diagnosis of learning outcomes, namely assessment occupies a prominent place in the educational process. It is one of the basic forms of obtaining information about various aspects connected with the functioning of a higher school The purpose of the assessment is to support the entire learning process, describing the state of the existing one, in such a way that further projects can be planned aimed at improving the situation (support uznávania kvalifikácie …). It is also significant for the recognition of higher education graduates [6, p. 9-12].

A diagnosis has two faces: one focused on the present or the past (description of reality — as it is) and the other looking to the future (forecasting future developments and planning activities) aimed at improving the quality of education. It should include members of various communities related to the school: the teachers, the university authorities, but also the students themselves. All these groups in different ways, but constantly are participants in the life of a higher school and thus have an impact on its place in the educational space. Therefore, they should, though in a different manner, also participate in the diagnosis.

Awareness of this fact is slowly starting to take shape in the academic environment. It is very important that all learning facilitators (teachers, university authorities) used the diagnosis in a competent and efficient way. Effectiveness is a function of understanding, acceptance of the results of the diagnosis, both when they are beneficial and when they inform about shortcomings. The consequence of taking note of the results of the diagnosis of education is to improve one’s own teaching methods.

The current situation in the academic environment enforces such an approach. The formal adoption of the National Qualification Framework obliges a university teacher for a careful analysis of their own work in terms of its efficiency and that effectiveness is examined by a diagnosis of learning outcomes. The National Qualifications Framework is a response to the public demand to adapt education to the needs of the labor market [12].

The word diagnosis is most often associated with the area of education: problems, their social causes and consequences. Then, we most often deal with psychosocial diagnosis. In the last decade — a period of structural change in education — the diagnosis also covered the area of education. We are dealing with a diagnosis of education, conducted on the basis of assessment of learning outcomes [13].

Recent years, characterized by the reconstruction of the system of tests and external examinations, have significantly raised the importance of educational diagnostics. After a general discussion its qualities and capabilities have been recognized, especially for improving the quality of academic teacher’s work, and that of the university. Education diagnostics has become a widely used and a perfect tool for teachers. No longer is it surprising to use reliable and standardized tools to assess the level of knowledge, skills and competence of the student. This is especially significant when mastering these competencies is documented in ECTS. Educational Diagnostics has become the main tool for accurate and reliable assessment of a student. Besides, the requirement to create an effective and objective evaluation system is part of the quality assurance work of universities [3, p. 81-110].

Specific problems in the assessment of learning outcomes are posed in the area of skills and competences.  It is relatively easy to assess the level of knowledge — usually based on test results. In contrast, a large group of skills is of immeasurable — for instance the ability to work in a group. The biggest trouble is caused by competences [10, p. 154-156]. These almost always are of psychosocial nature [20, p. 19-46]. They are by definition immeasurable and require a different type of diagnosis, to which a high school teacher is lacking competence.

Diagnosis of learning outcomes realized by a university teacher is primarily focused on evaluation of the student’s level of preparation to carry out professional tasks. The basis for the creation of a training program for students is a record of skills, knowledge and competencies needed for professional practice [24].  This course of action is a consequence of the arrangements of the Bologna Process (Kennedy, Hyland, Ryan. The results of such diagnosis have two recipients: an external and an internal one. The external one takes the form of quality monitoring in the form of accreditation commission. Whereas the internal are the participants of the education process: higher school teachers using the feedback as well as students looking for schools listed as high as possible in the labor market. These are the environment directly involved in the diagnosis.

Each of these groups uses the information obtained through the diagnosis differently.  The supervisory authorities treat the results as evaluative, and this is a critical evaluation of universities rank among schools operating on the academic market. Sometimes the university authorities use the results in a similar way, referring to the lecturing job on their basis. University teachers and students tend to focus more on feedback about the results of their work [21, p. 130-136].

The diagnosed entities are not only learners, namely students. Diagnosis also applies to the mere school, teachers who are judged through the results of their work. A broad-based educational action includes all cooperating communities [8].  It is also not insignificant to assess the knowledge, skills and competence acquired in the course of the internships that do not take place on the campus, but are implemented by cooperating institutions. However, they have the same value because they are included in the curriculum of the student and allow the transition from theory to practice. They become a natural source of information on the assessed area of knowledge, skills and competence.

The diagnosis performers are a clearly defined group of people whose job it is to plan the assessment procedure, preparation of accurate and reliable diagnostic tools to conduct research and formulate proposals and subject them to thorough analysis (as in the case of implementing predictive functions of diagnosis) [11, p.19-23]. The diagnoses performers are the higher school teachers. The university authorities should in principle limit themselves to monitoring whether the assessment of learning outcomes is conducted on a regular basis and help (e.g. organizational and technical) to implement.

As can be seen, the university authorities and teachers are groups of participants most involved in the education diagnostics, both as recipients and performers. It would seem that they should have a similar approach to diagnosis. Meanwhile, objectives targeted in a different way imply that each of these groups takes a different attitude towards the diagnosis.

The university authorities and ministerial supervision focus mainly on the formal aspect. The fact is that the diagnosis examining the educational the achieved levels of learning outcomes has become one of the tools of assessment of work of a higher school. The assessment pressure and the requirement to conduct the diagnosis makes the assessment of the effects become a task in itself, rather than part of an education quality assurance system. University teachers naturally benefit from the conclusions formulated during the course of diagnosis, but they are usually dominated by a sense of responsibility for the execution of the task. And in this way something that should become an integral part of the quality assurance system is slowly becoming an additional formal obligation [5, p. 157-163].

Higher school teachers have never been especially interested in a broader educational diagnosis focusing, otherwise rightly, directly on learning outcomes determining smooth achieving by a student the successive stages of education.  They considered the information about the student obtained through examining them as sufficient. At best, they supplemented them with the information of psychosocial nature in an interview with the student.

 In fact, this type of activity, somewhat better developed methodologically, make up the educational diagnosis. But it is obvious that in academic practice they were rather of occasional nature and only intuitive. In contrast, expectations that the diagnosis would be carried out in a more formalized way, as well as expanding the recipients waiting for the results made it necessary to prepare a uniform system of rules and procedures of the system of effect diagnosis, so that it gained formal and universal character [8]. Especially that the results were to translate both into the assessment of the student’s achievements and assessment of the quality of lecturing job. These assumptions have caused a lot of tension and problems associated with working out new ways of doing things which can be implemented in existing structures. The requirement to formally develop both tools and results, forced the teachers to analyze the hitherto used tools to verify student achievements. In most cases there was a need to create new learning outcomes assessment schemes tailored to the National Qualifications Framework model. These activities have been accompanied by strong tensions related to implementation difficulties. Lecturers in fact, focused on substantive shape of their specialties, have reported problems with the construction of multi-component system of testing and evaluation of learning outcomes, mostly in the area of psychosocial competence. This applies especially to those teachers whose specialty is far from humanist profile [9, p. 117-120].

 Lecturers of humanities and social faculties have it easier in this regard [17]. They can, on the one hand, verify the results and conclusions drawn can verify, and use and deploy them on the other. Psychosocial competence entered into a set of learning outcomes are not much of a problem for them, as they frequently implement them as primary every day [2, p.95-98].

In recent years, it can be clearly seen what high intellectual and research potential the academic community, and more specifically, the community of academic teachers are [15, p.33-35]. Though not very open to novelties, they are able to adopt them and maximize the benefit. It should only be remembered in the planning of the subsequent tasks for teachers not to overload them with formal tasks. Such trends are emerging quite clearly and pose a risk both for the education of students and for science. An academic teacher overwhelmed with teaching and administrative tasks, in the end will neglect research and scientific work, which will affect adversely all the components of higher education [4, p. 69-72]. But ultimately everything should serve better direct work with the student and the job will be done best by a teacher with a passion for teaching [14, p. 103-105].

Summary

In the era of education reform has increased the importance of diagnosing the academic learning outcomes. Currently, diagnosis rests on the duty teacher and it is enforced in a formal way. High school teacher has an additional task, which involves collecting data on student progress. The results are intended to direct assessment of student development. An evaluation will serve the university — should provide data for monitoring and planning of higher education.

 

References

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    ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECTS OF TRAINING IN A METHODICAL WORKSHOP OF A HIGHER SCHOOL TEACHER
    In the era of academic reform the importance of diagnosis or assessment of learning outcomes has increased. Currently, the diagnosing obligation rests on the teachers and it is enforced in a formal way. A higher school teacher has an additional task, which involves the collection of data about a student's progress. The results are intended to serve direct assessment of student development. They will also serve assessing university - they should provide data for monitoring and planning the activity of a higher school.
    Written by: Ewa Lubina
    Published by: БАСАРАНОВИЧ ЕКАТЕРИНА
    Date Published: 01/10/2017
    Edition: euroasia-science.ru_29-30.12.2015_12(21)
    Available in: Ebook