Student motivation in capstone design courses is assessed in six capstone project courses at six diverse institutions in the 2017-2018 academic year. This assessment follows a similar assessment study at a large public university in six unique capstone courses. Reliability and validity analysis during the first year contributed to upgrades to the assessment tools currently being implemented. Qualitative feedback from student and faculty participants indicated a strong desire by students to receive feedback about their motivation and by faculty to learn more about the motivation levels of their students. This poster paper focuses on the analysis and presentation of meaningful assessment results to students.
The developed assessment surveys measure both students’ motivational attitudes (self-assessed) and behaviors (self- and peer-assessed). Attitude and behavior assessments are administered at early and late stages of the project. Early assessments provide formative feedback that guides student motivational development. The later ones indicate emerging patterns of attitudes and behaviors, providing summative results that help students understand and communicate their motivational growth as they prepare to enter the workforce. This paper describes how motivation assessment results can be viewed in the context of motivation frameworks such as self-development theory.
Attitudes assessment identifies students’ self-identification with twenty attitudes related to their capstone experience. Responses identify and rate the level that students’ motivations are influenced by achievements, experiences, project, and tangible rewards. Feedback to students includes a summary of their indicated attitudes, their tendency toward intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and their level of autonomy, competence, and relatedness – the key components of self-determination theory. Students can use early assessments to focus on and address motivational attitudes during the project, and use the second report to understand their possible attitudinal changes and possible relationship to behaviors.
The second assessment measures students’ motivation behaviors along with peer evaluation of these same behaviors. The peer evaluation also includes a suggestion for behavior improvement in one of the five behavioral areas: work quality and quantity, level of supervision, team effectiveness, initiative, and self-development. Each student receives a report with their scores, average peer scores, and a compilation of peers’ suggestions for improvement. The second behavior assessment is similar to the earlier one, except that peers describe a strong behavior for each student—one that has positively impacted team or project performance.
The paper describes data analysis and feedback to students at both the early and late stages of the capstone project. It also provides sample feedback reports that illustrate the potential value to be gained by students. This poster presentation summarizes the work under NSF Grant DUE 1504728 and facilitates discussions about motivation assessment and reporting in capstone project courses.
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