PPRE undergoes competence-based evaluation

by Jasmin Overberg, Quality Management/Evaluation at Uni Oldenburg

In February 2017, the PPRE started its participation in the Erasmus+-project “IQM-HE: Internal Quality Management in Competence-Based Higher Education” as one of the very first programmes in European universities.

What is the project about?

During the last decades, a ‘shift from teaching to learning’ occurred in the European Higher Education Area. Thus, students’ competences are more and more in the limelight. Hence, international researchers, quality assurance agencies and practitioners undertook a joint project in order to develop a new procedure for internal quality management focussing on students’ competences. With the aim of validating this new approach, an interdisciplinary team (staff from the PPRE and from the Department for Continuing Education and Educational Management, Faculty I) implemented the procedure to the PPRE.

Which steps were implemented?

1.       Define competences (April-July 2017)

During intensive workshops and discussions, a team of teachers, students, alumni and IQM-staff created a list of defined competences for the PPRE programme (23 competences, grouped into four competence areas (subject-related competences, scientific and methodical competences, social competences and personal competences)). Each competence has a cognitive and a practical aspect and a level from 1 (low) to 5 (expanded).

2.       Screen competences (September-October 2017)

The IQM-Team asked students in their last semester about their estimation of their own level and the taught level and teachers working in the PPRE about their perception of students’ competences (via online survey). 45% of the students (9 persons) and 42% of the teachers (10 persons) answered.

3.       Enhance competences (November 2017-Summer 2018)

The IQM-Team analysed the screening results, found out strengths and weaknesses and developed measures for quality enhancement together with the teaching staff.

What are the results and the measures?

The results indicate that the practical parts of the programme should be higher. Also, students estimate to be on a higher level than intended concerning the cognitive aspect of some competences (e. g. “soft skills”) and for some levels, the teachers’ estimation of the students‘ level and the students‘ estimation of the taught competence level are the same, while students estimate their actual level to be lower. During the discussions, the following measures were developed:

  • expansion of the practical components
  • stronger integration of methods like practical trainings, role plays, case studies, projects and research based work
  • support of the students concerning the use of learning strategies, which foster the transfer into practice
  • clear communication of the levels that each course should impart and consistent feedback during the course
  • reflection with students and faculty members on the overall aims of the programme

For an executive summary of the evaluation report click here.

What did we learn about the procedure?

Since the implementation of the procedure was a pilot study, our ‘lessons learned’ are of special interest:

  • The procedure is not capable of determining students’ competences with perfect precision and conjuring up a perfect, all-embracing study programme, but it is capable of …
  • … starting a reflection about the goals of the program and the competences to be imparted à sharpening of the program’s profile
  • … arranging communication with students, teachers and persons in charge of quality management à inclusion of voices which are usually not heard
  • … initiating smaller changes to improve the program’s quality
  • However, the procedure needs to be adapted (e. g. shortening of the survey, finding ways to explain the levels more easily)

Interested and curious?

Then read more under:

Feel also free to forward the information to people who might be interested in this topic!

Andrea Broens & Jasmin Overberg

Department for continuing education and educational management (we.b), Faculty I

(Changed: 2020-01-23)