How Students can ‘Teach Themselves’ using CompTracker

How Students can ‘Teach Themselves’ using CompTracker

How can technology be utilized to increase student accountability, motivation and personal ownership?
Educators often mention to us the challenges they have to both teach and assess interpersonal skills that are a part of the everyday workplace. Yet imparting students with difficult to teach ‘emotional intelligence’ skills are an essential element in development of well-rounded, entry to practice professionals.

Many Canadian post-secondary institutions have turned to CompTracker® in order to support student professional development/assessment. Let’s take a closer look at how CompTracker® can help to facilitate student self reliance or how your students can ‘teach themselves’ through the process of electronic evaluation.

Teaching ‘Emotional Intelligence’
The last 20 years have seen an increase in the number and variety of tools used to assess emotional intelligence1 – those facets such as accountability, self motivation and personal ownership. The prevalence of information in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean it’s important. However, it’s perhaps commonly accepted that students who are better prepared academically for knowledge and tech-based jobs may be more economically and socially advantaged.² Yet historical research into cognition, economic and social-demographic factors don’t seem to explain performance² — Enter emotional intelligence (EI) as another possible predictor of academic success ²
Emotional intelligence may include the following broad categories³:

  • Self-Awareness (assessing my emotions)
  • Self-Management (managing my emotions)
  • Social Awareness (my outside awareness/empathy)
  • Relationship Management (my ability to develop a rapport with others)

Our education partners from Cytology through Veterinary Technician programs have developed a breadth of competency and formative/summative evaluation tools and processes, often driven by national competency profiles. Most, if not all of those assessment tools contain some element where emotional intelligence of the student is assessed. Not only can ‘EI’ be assessed formally, through direct observation/assessment, but it may also be monitored through informal observation of:

  • the students’ response to feedback (self awareness & self management)
  • the students’ interactions with clients & team members (social awareness)
  • how they build/improve upon relationships (relationship management)

In a nutshell, emotional intelligence may be assessed and boosted by educators formally/informally, formatively or summatively.

Considerations when using Technology to Assess Students
Vavoula and Sharples advise, there are some factors to consider when using technology/mobile solutions to assess students (4):

  • it should respect learner/participant privacy
  • it should capture/analyze learning across contexts
  • it needs to measure processes & outcomes
  • it should have good capabilities and be user friendly
  • it needs to keep the wide organizational and social/cultural view in mind
  • it should lend itself to both formal and informal assessment

Privacy/Context/Process utility: CompTracker® lends itself very nicely to mobile student assessment. Paper documents with client details that are left in cafeterias, at home, or other common areas may be read by anyone. CompTracker® requires three pieces of information to securely login to the encrypted system. It can also be used across environments – from simulated settings in school to the most remote, rural field placement sites. As CompTracker® can be used by the student completely offline (that is, without Wifi) it not only supports tracking across a variety of contexts, but supports a wide range of processes and outcomes utilized by our educators in student assessment.

Capability/User friendliness: Survey results posted in a recent article in the Australasian Journal of Paramedicine indicate students felt CompTracker was useful among 92% of respondents though ease of use requires some improvement. (5) The CompTracker® team participates in continuous process/quality improvement from both a customer as well as application perspective which has been key to its continuing adoption across a breadth of experiential, workplace centered programs.

Organizational/social/cultural context and assessment: Educator/customer content is translated into a web-based setup by the CompTracker® team. As content is based on what customers provide to us (and consultation provided to ensure suggested best practices are considered) – it is unique to their needs and organizational/social/cultural milieu. Reference task lists or rubrics are often provided to guide the assessment process for both the student and evaluator, and assessment may be done in real time or reflectively – whatever best suits our customers’ requirements. Assessment is also flexible in that it can incorporate likert, performance level expectations or other scales to determine if the expected standard was met regardless of whether that is a point in time skill being evaluated – or student emotional intelligence skills assessed that have been observed over time.

Reporting or automated data tabulation can point to trends in outcomes for a student or whole cohort reducing administration for program or workplace learning coordinators. Outcomes may be displayed in a highly summarized view or in a very granular way depending on the needs our customers have. While the initial adoption period may take some adjustment, customers frequently mention to us after the first year how user friendly and supportive the CompTracker® team is.

Digital Transparency Lends to EI
CompTracker® lends itself to assessment of student emotional intelligence via its customizability, and the central, immediate and secure access to student progress. A students’ performance and progress is transparent – to the student as well as to the key stakeholders in the students’ education. From high level summaries to granular views – progress and competency benchmarks make it immediately apparent as to where a student stands in terms of meeting course requirements, or if there may be some learning gaps. This helps to foster both honesty and integrity. Students can see these benchmarks at a glance and drill down for further details including single, point in time feedback that’s been provided to them. They tell us they like these visual benchmarks to see what they’ve completed, what they have left to do and how well they’re doing as they progress. Easily identifiable symbols and colours (e.g. green for an approved competency) further support their decision making about where to place their attention next – also taking the stress off of the educator to manage this. Through just these few features that are built in – greater student accountability and self-reliance are also supported.

Student self reliance may be fostered further through incorporating different tools or assessments – such as minimum weekly self reflection exercises to be initiated by the student. Or implement periodic goal setting exercises or even learning or action plans – all student driven which puts the student in the driver’s seat of their own educational success. Completion of these tools/assessments is always available to program stakeholders for monitoring.

Not only can students and educators use CompTracker® as a tool to identify where a student may be struggling, but it can also be used to identify or reward high achievers – potentially providing a further incentive to students or at a minimum, enabling the student to take personal pride in a task well done.

Through its design and custom content abilities, CompTracker® supports and fosters your students’ ability to teach themselves – transparently building in benchmarks for accountability and integrity and lending to the motivation and personal ownership that could be a key to student success now and in their future career path.

1 Stough C., Saklofske D.H., Parker J.D. (2009) A Brief Analysis of 20 Years of Emotional Intelligence: An Introduction to Assessing Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Research, and Applications. In: Parker J., Saklofske D., Stough C. (eds) Assessing Emotional Intelligence. The Springer Series on Human Exceptionality. Springer, Boston, MA
2 Parker J.D.A., Saklofske D.H., Wood L.M., Collin T. (2009) The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Education. In: Parker J., Saklofske D., Stough C. (eds) Assessing Emotional Intelligence. The Springer Series on Human Exceptionality. Springer, Boston, MA
3 L Kase (2008) The Four Components of Emotional Intelligence
4 Vavoula, Giasemi N., Sharples, Mike; (2008); Challenges in Evaluating Mobile Learning
5 Maria, Sonja, Hlushak, Amanda and Diamond, Adam; 2019; Development of a tool to monitor paramedic clinical placements: a case study of innovation overcoming tradition

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