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Constructive alignment between holistic competency development and assessment in Hong Kong engineering education

  • Constructive alignment between holistic competency development and assessment in Hong Kong engineering education
  • Journal of Engineering Education, 110(2), 437-457, 2021
  • Wiley
  • 2021
    • Hong Kong
    • 1997.7 onwards
    • Post-Secondary Education
  • Background: Holistic competencies comprise various holistic skills (e.g., communication) and positive values and attitudes (e.g., empathy). There have been increasing efforts worldwide to foster students' holistic competency development within engineering curricula. While recent studies indicate a positive shift, it remains unclear whether such efforts are driven by only a handful of individuals or more widely supported by systemic changes to constructively align competency development with the engineering curriculum. Purpose/Hypothesis: This study investigates the extent to which endeavors to promote holistic competency development in Hong Kong's tertiary engineering education are supported by a broader, constructively aligned curricular system. The three key components of constructive alignment developed by Biggs in 2003—intended outcomes, teaching activities, and assessment—form the conceptual framework guiding this study. Design/Method: This study conducted document analysis of 245 engineering courses and interviews with five engineering instructors from three Hong Kong universities. Results: Only 34 of 245 syllabi analyzed incorporated holistic competencies in their intended outcomes. These outcomes were associated with both traditional and experiential pedagogies but were not matched with direct or explicit assessments. Data show that program leaders' conceptions of holistic competencies, instructor's limited capabilities, and issues assessing competencies pose challenges to constructive alignment. Conclusions: Challenges for achieving constructive alignment and recommendations for addressing them are discussed. Our findings highlight the need to train all levels of engineering instructors in student holistic competency development, to acquaint instructors with industrial experiences and expectations, to develop top‐down and bottom‐up reforms to refine engineering curricula, and to provide increased recognition for teaching quality and efforts. Copyright © 2021 Wiley.
    • English
  • Journal Articles
    • 10694730
  • 2022-04-20

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