In undertaking the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) Project, Assessing Final Year Engineering Projects (FYEPs): Ensuring Learning and Teaching Standards and AQF Level 8 Outcomes, the project team identified three key areas which were common and most pertinent in the survey data: curriculum, supervision and assessment. This paper describes a set of assessment guidelines that were developed as a key outcome for the OLT Project in addition to the supporting body of knowledge, good practices and data collected.
The first phase of the broader project identified a need for greater consideration of how final year projects demonstrate Level 8 learning outcomes required by the Australian Qualifications Framework for 4-year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degrees. The purpose of the second phase was to develop and disseminate guidelines that assist academics to create and assess FYEP tasks in relation to the learning outcome areas of knowledge, skills and application. These guidelines are accompanied by exemplar practice as identified from the review of survey data and are designed to assist academics in the design, assessment and moderation of tasks associated with FYEP work.
The wider project methodology was largely qualitative, adopting a case study approach. Data was gathered from 16 universities across Australia (from all states and territories) and included university documentation such as subject outlines, rubrics and student guidelines. Additionally, interviews were conducted with coordinators of final year project subjects. Within these interviews participants were asked specifically about their assessment practices and AQF level 8. Additional data was gathered from participants during a conference workshop designed to explore their understanding of the AQF Level 8 learning outcome descriptors. The guidelines were developed after mapping this data against the sections of knowledge, skills and application described in the Level 8 learning outcomes.
The dissemination of the Assessment Guidelines and exemplar practice is designed to both capture some of the complexities around assessment of FYEPs and progress practice towards AQF8 compliance. It is anticipated that the adoption of the guidelines within institutions will lead to higher quality assessment practices and delivery of AQF level 8 outcomes.
Assessment practices in FYEPs vary considerably across institutions and this variance is seen in both the types of tasks set for students and the ways in which they are marked and moderated. The project team has sought to delineate good practice in this area and disseminate guidelines designed to assist in careful thinking about the high standards implied by AQF level 8.
Assessment, Final Year Engineering Projects, Australian Qualifications Framework