Enhancing Development of Competencies by Means of Continuous Improvement Processes

Brian Frank, Natalie Simper, Bei Cai, Deena Salem, Jake Kaupp, Max Lindley Peart,

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Pressure is mounting for post-secondary institutions to demonstrate that their students have the skills needed for the workforce, particularly in professional programs. Common expectations among professional and regulatory bodies in information and communication technologies (ICT) include professional knowledge, understanding of systematic impacts and needs, problem solving, teamwork, technology resources, modelling and analysis, programming, and self-management. This article focuses on intentional development of ICT competencies in post-secondary education. The authors present a continuous improvement model for integrated curriculum design, with activities and assessments specifically selected to develop professional skills in the context of the discipline. The approach involves building common understandings, providing examples of effective teaching practices, using data for evaluation, and implementing high-impact strategies for attainment of competencies. Activities at Queen’s University that have been supported by the authors are presented as a case study. Criterion-based assessment of authentic disciplinary tasks is shown to be effective in detecting incremental improvement in competencies, and learning gains on standardized tests were significant and meaningful for problem solving, critical thinking, and communication. The use of standardized assessment has limitations, but feedback to departments enabled learning needs to be addressed. These examples are highlighted as part of a continuous improvement model to develop competencies by tailoring curriculum and learning strategies, assessing student achievement, and using the data to inform high-impact strategies for attainment of competencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S56-S72
JournalCanadian Public Policy
Volume44
Issue numberS1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

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