Effective Assessment of Workplace Problem-Solving in Higher Education

Maurice M. Danaher, Kevin Schoepp
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 19  •  2020  •  pp. 001-016

Within higher education, graduating students who are able to solve ill-structured, complex, open-ended, and collaborative, workplace problems is recognized as paramount. Because of this, there is a need to assess this skill across the curriculum.

This paper addresses this issue by assessing problem-solving across a computing curriculum using an assessment instrument shown to be reliable and valid.

The method is based upon the implementation of the assessment instrument that uses a scenario-based asynchronous discussion board measuring the ability of student groups to solve workplace problems. The sample are computing students from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th year, and master’s levels at a UAE university.

This paper shows the problem-solving skills of students over four years of study across a computing curriculum and demonstrates the effectiveness of the instrument.

There was a general increase in student problem-solving performance from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th year, and master’s levels, but students often failed to meet the expected level of performance for their year of study. In addition, the instrument was effective in assessing problem-solving.

This assessment instrument, or one similar, that uses a scenario-based asynchronous discussion board can be used to measure the ability of student groups to solve workplace problems.

Students must be prepared to solve workplace problems to meet the needs of 21st century employment.

Further research should be conducted with this assessment instrument, or one similar, outside of this fairly unique UAE- based context.

workplace problems, computing education, asynchronous discussion
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