Academic progress quality improvement problems faced by Physical Education department

Academic progress quality improvement problems faced by Physical Education department

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Dr.Hab., Professor T.I. Shukshina
PhD, Associate Professor P.V. Zamkin
PhD, Associate Professor V.V. Miroshkin
Mordovia State Pedagogical Institute named after M.E. Evsevev, Saransk

Keywords: academic progress, diagnostics, rating, academic progress quality improvement.

Introduction. Education quality improvement is among the top priorities of the state policy as a pressing issue for both higher education institutions and scientific-pedagogical society. The key parameter indicating education quality is considered to be the academic progress of university students and graduates. Over the past few years, the class structure and content have been modernized considerably; the new practice-oriented pedagogical techniques and forms of educational process organization with a focus on professional competences formation were introduced.

As for the diagnostics and rating of the academic progress quality, which are the essential part of the university educational system, adjustment to the competence-activity paradigm of higher education is a far more complicated and slow process. To a large extent, this is due to the fact that, on the one hand, the present-day concept of academic progress quality, criteria, characteristics and levels of its evaluation in terms of the occupational standards implementation within FSES HE remains a controversial issue under discussion; on the other hand, there is a problem concerning diagnostic efficiency of traditional methods (polling, testing) evaluating the level of a student’s competence development. At the same time, many aspects of competence-focused academic progress diagnostics within university education system are improperly investigated. Besides, it should be noted that the education quality and academic progress rating of the students studying on the Physical Education Department are based largely on the specifics of their vocational training: many students are actively involved in various sports, undertake training activities, organize physical culture and sport events.

Objective of the study was to develop and substantiate a set of measures and strategies for the Physical Education Department to improve the students’ academic progress quality.

Results and discussion. Development of the concept and establishment of the legal-and-regulatory framework for monitoring and rating of academic progress quality. Today, according to the analyzed national and international studies [2, 3] the definition of “education quality” remains open to question, since it is viewed from a range of standpoints varying in scope of the examined aspects and approach to defining the very essence of quality. It is necessary to point out that a quality category is considered as being applied to all kinds of the university education system components: the quality of the curriculum structure, means of educational process (learning resources) and educational technologies; the quality of training, research and methodological activities of higher-education teaching personnel involved in the educational process, etc. Thus, it is acceptable to regard education quality as a consistent compliance of education (as a result, as a process and as the overall education system) with the existing needs, set objectives, imposed requirements, established norms (standards) [2]. It is evident that the wide semantic field of the category “education quality” covers a vast range of characteristics, criteria, indicators of academic progress quality. Naturally, this complicates the development of a standardized mechanism and procedures for academic progress quality evaluation, as well as the development of the basic strategy and methods of the students’ academic progress quality improvement.

The “Strategy for Intra-University Education Quality Assurance” was developed in MSPI on the basis of the analyzed modern national and international studies in the field of education quality management along with review of the approaches and concepts applied within the modern university education system for professional and pedagogical diagnostics of academic progress quality (taxonomic, systematic and structural; advancement in the sphere of individual activities, competence improvement). The presented local normative act regulates the intra-university system, policy and procedures guaranteeing the students’ competence quality. The “Concept of Education Quality Control” adopted by the Academic Council of MSPI determines the basic framework, objectives, principles, as well as forms, methods, instruments and procedures of education quality control, rights, legal powers and responsibilities of the subjects of education system. According to the concept, the subjects of quality control include educational process (the process of curriculum design and introduction; programs of the students’ scientific research activities carried out in different departments; programs of social and educational activities; the process of conducting classes; syllabus; teaching materials; the system of evaluation tools, examination and assessment materials and so on), academic progress of university students and graduates (the current progress in studies; monitoring of achievements in particular topics, units, discipline modules; degree of acquisition and level of competence in particular disciplines and curriculum modules; successful completion of practical training sessions; results of participation in Olympiads, competitions, sport tournaments; results of students’ scientific research activities, etc.), educational resources (compliance of qualifications held by higher-education teaching personnel with the FSES requirements; effectiveness of professional performance of higher-education teaching personnel: training, educational and methodological, research and pedagogical activities; compliance of informational, scientific, educational and methodological, library, material and technical resources as well as electronic information-and-education environment with the FSES requirements; infrastructure of the students’ scientific research activities conducted in different departments and so forth).

The main instruments of education quality control are the system of evaluation tools, examination and assessment materials, tests, project assignments and case studies developed in accordance with the FSES requirements and occupational standards. MSPI has enacted the statute “On the System of Evaluation Tools within the Discipline” regulating the course of evaluation tools system development, the requirements for its framework and structure. The developed research and methodological recommendations qualitatively improve the evaluation procedures for the subjects of the education system; provide the integrated and systematic monitoring and control over the process that establishes the competences stated in the FSES HE; provide the rating of the students’ academic progress in studying the discipline, outline positive/negative study results and work out the program of further preventive/corrective arrangements; ensure congruence of the study results with the objectives of further vocational activities through improvement of the traditional teaching methods and introduction of the innovative ones to the university educational process.

The statutes “On Independent Monitoring of Education Quality” and “On Organization and Procedures for Administering the Federal Online Examination in the Sphere of Vocational Education” are being operated in the institute in order to maintain impartiality and objectiveness of evaluation and provide prompt and reliable information concerning the quality of educational program acquisition, academic progress, allocation of learning resources and status of the educational process in terms of the discipline; to take regulatory decisions for improving the efficiency of educational activities.

Levels and phases of the students’ academic progress quality diagnostics. The following levels and phases of training quality rating can be observed in MSPI: entrance examination for applicants; admission assessment examining the 1st-year students’ preparedness for university studies; the current achievements in educational activities; independent intra-university monitoring at the levels of university administration, dean’s office, academic department; midterm assessment; interdisciplinary tests conducted by the rectorate; final assessment with the participation of employers assessing the education quality; testing in the form of the Federal Online Examination; analysis of the students’ internship results and so on.

The university educational process is based on the point rating system which provides availability of the information on the implemented strategy for rating of knowledge quality gained by students during the period of study as well as formats, timeframe of data reporting and rating criteria.

Active participation of the institute in different educational programs of the Federal Online Examination makes it possible to compare the training quality of the students studying in MSPI with that of the students in other higher education institutions on the basis of informational and analytical reports, results of pedagogical assessments; to improve responsibility of the subjects of education system; to develop effective strategies for the further improvement of university training system.

Methods of authentic rating of students’ academic progress. As the foundation of university education standards, competency-building and activity approaches set forth the necessity of developing a complex model of the students’ educational results that would include both their academic (knowledge, abilities, skills, creative experience, field-specific and meta-competences, etc.) and personal accomplishments (axiological attitude towards studying, self-management, self-training, capability for channeling the energy in an optimal way so as to achieve planned results, etc.). Such an integrated interpretation of academic progress extends the list of requirements for purposes and means of the progress diagnostics and rating. Currently, the methods of authentic rating become frequently applied in the context of emphasized practice-oriented aspect of education; these methods facilitate identification of the students’ level of competence by means of simulating the situations and conditions which illustrate the scenario that might take place in real life of a future specialist. For this purpose, a number of methods is used: research projects, scientific experiments, case studies, multimedia presentations, discussions and creative activities, etc. are being carried out. This practice not only performs the diagnostic function (evaluation of the practical effects of education) but also provides possibilities of development (encouragement of an individual’s initiative, pursuance of self-improvement and individual growth based on personal rating of the progress towards a targeted result of educational activity; provision of an opportunity to observe these results and obtain approval and recognition of one’s achievements) [4].

Academic progress of students in different fields of activities (educational, scientific research, sport, cultural and social) is accumulated and assembled into an electronic portfolio, which is an effective tool of the student’s academic progress monitoring. The portfolio is designed as a private educational environment facilitating self-assessment of general and professional competences acquisition. Motivational function of the academic progress rating system (portfolio) consists in its application in the process of student selection for higher scholarship allowance, announcement of the results of competitions “Student of the Year”, “Best Research Student”, etc.

Scientific research and project activities of students. The students’ involvement in scientific research and project activities constitutes an essential part in establishment of the axiological attitude and motivation towards education, improvement of academic progress quality. Eleven scientific research groups and scholarly sections for young researchers operate within Physical Education Department of MSPI focusing on psychological and pedagogical support of sport activities, social and hygienic issues of physical culture and sports activities, medical and biological aspects of developing the body energy capacities by athletes of different qualifications and other aspects of physical culture and sport sector development. 70 percent of students studying at the department attend classes in scientific and research groups. Effectiveness of these groups is reflected in the annual increase in the number of rewards for participation in scientific events at the international, national and local levels. Student activity in conference publications in the department has increased by 32 percent in 2015/2016 as compared to the results of the previous academic year [1, 6, 5].

Establishment of the student self-government body for the purposes of education quality improvement. Engagement of students as the subjects into the education quality evaluation and management is a distinctive tendency of the modern higher education development. Nowadays, creative associations of students and higher-education teaching personnel give active consideration to and promote the concept of the student self-government body that would deal with the education quality related issues. For the coming years, the agenda of such associations comprises development of the local legal-and-regulatory framework for operation and advancement of the student self-government organizations that are autonomous regarding the issues of education quality, as well as integration of this framework into the education quality management system existing within the institute, development of research and methodological instruments, forms and procedures of academic progress and educational process quality diagnostics, mechanisms of interoperation with other subjects of education quality rating and improvement.

Undoubtedly, a student’s subjective and reflexive perception of education quality should be “cultivated”. For this purpose, the specialized educational programs are introduced, tutorials and conferences are organized and conditions are provided for the integration of the established student self-government bodies into the system of student associations regulating the quality of higher education in the Russian Federation.

Conclusions. Establishment of the required organizational, structural, procedural and technological conditions within universities for effective improvement of the students’ academic progress quality will be facilitated through the implementation of complex measures, such as development of the concept and legal-and-regulatory framework for managing the students’ academic progress monitoring and rating; designing the multilevel and multi-phased system aimed at diagnostics and rating of academic progress quality of students and graduates; implementation of forms and methods for authentic assessment of the students’ academic progress; promotion of the students’ scientific research and project activities; establishment of the student autonomous associations regulating the issues of education quality. 

References

  1. Miroshkin V.V. Po stranitsam letopisi fakul'teta fizicheskoy kul'tury Mordovskogo pedinstituta (Through the pages of the chronicle of Physical Education Faculty of Mordovia Pedagogical Institute) / V.V. Miroshkin, A.V. Kokurin // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2014. – № 8. – P. 6–8.
  2. Rekomendatsii po provedeniyu obrazovatel'nogo audita otdel'noy osnovnoy obrazovatel'noy programmy i sostavleniyu otcheta (dlya ekspertov) (Recommendations for educational audit of specific basic educational program and reporting (for experts) / V.D. Shadrikov, Yu.B. Rubin, A.A. Kovalenko, V.A. Samoylov. – Moscow: Agentstvo po obshchestvennomu kontrolyu kachestva obrazovaniya i razvitiya kar'ery (Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance and Career Development), 2008. – 30 p.
  3. Stanovlenie institutov obshchestvenno-professional'noy otsenki kachestva obrazovaniya: monografiya (Establishment of institutions of public professional education quality assessment: Monograph) / O.A. Il'chenko et al. – Moscow: Market DS, 2007. – 652 p.
  4. Shukshina T.I. Razvitie sistemy nauchno-issledovatel'skoy i proektnoy deyatel'nosti studentov v usloviyakh mnogourovnevoy sistemy vysshego pedagogicheskogo obrazovaniya (Development of system of research and project activities of students within multilevel system of higher pedagogical education) / T.I. Shukshina, P.V. Zamkin, I.I. Parvatova // Gumanitarnye nauki i obrazovanie (Humanities and Education). – 2013. – № 4 (16). – P. 84–89.
  5. Shukshina T.I. Cherez nauchnye issledovaniya – k sportivnym pobedam: iz opyta nauchno-issledovatel'skoy raboty fakul'teta fizicheskoy kul'tury Mordovskogo pedinstituta (Through research - to sports victories: experience of research work of Physical Education Faculty of Mordovia Pedagogical Institute) / T.I. Shukshina, P.V. Zamkin, V.V. Miroshkin // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2014. – № 8. – P. 9–11.
  6. Shukshina T.I. Napravleniya aktivizatsii nauchno-issledovatel'skoy raboty studentov kak mekhanizma formirovaniya nauchno-issledovatel'skoy kompetentnosti u pedagogicheskih kadrov v oblasti fizicheskoy kul'tury i sporta (iz opyta raboty Mordovskogo pedinstituta) (Directions of intensification of research work of students as mechanism of formation of research competency of physical education and sport teachers (from experience of Mordovia Pedagogical Institute) / T.I. Shukshina, P.V. Zamkin, V.V. Miroshkin, L.G. Parshina // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2015. – № 10. – P. 11–13.

Corresponding author: T_I_Shukshina@mordgpi.ru

Abstract
The article considers a variety the academic progress rating problems at physical education departments. The modern education theory and practice faces a few challenges in the new Federal State Education Standards (FSES) implementation process as the relevant professional standards are still inadequately and non-systemically supported by the design methods and algorithms to put together the competence-focused progress diagnostic systems with their content, formats and procedures. The article presents the set of initiatives taken by Mordovia State Pedagogical Institute named after M.E. Evsevyev (MSPI) to solve the academic progress/ quality rating problems. The key components of the initiatives may be listed as follows: develop the concept and the legal-and-regulatory framework for the new academic progress monitoring and quality rating system; design a multilevel and multi-phased academic progress diagnostics and quality rating system applicable to the students and graduates; implement generic academic progress/ quality rating forms and methods under the system; encourage the students’ research and design activity; and establish a student self-government body for the academic progress/ quality rating purposes.