Curriculum Design Reconsidered: An Action Research Study
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Original versionICERI proceedings. 2018, 3380-3385.
This article reports on an action research study aimed to improve learning and reduce failure rates in a third-year engineering course. This consisted of two separate parts addressing mainly algorithmic and conceptual problems respectively. The primary purpose of this study is to identify and understand the mechanisms causing high failure rates in order to improve achievement. An action research model served to inform roles and responsibilities of those involved in the project. Data included exam scores gathered over seven years and an end-of-term survey. Major interventions featured a new grading model requiring a pass in both parts of the course, constructive alignment of course components, and the introduction of a mid-term exam focussing exclusively on conceptual content. On completion of the project period, mean scores had improved and failure rates been reduced. Data confirmed students’ appreciation of efforts made to improve, while at the same time proposing issues for further attention.