The substantiation of the choice of evaluation methods and the results of analysis Organisation of studies and assessment of knowledge is reflected by the system of quality ensurance and assessment. It consists of:
- evaluation of the teaching quality,
- evaluation of the subject programs.
The quality assessment system has three aims: the LLU strategic aim, study program and course aims. There are tasks for every aim. The aims and the tasks are related to the possibilities of the academic potential and material supply, stressing the future perspectives in accordance with the labour market demands.
The development of the study program is determined by the following LLU Senate decisions: Regulations on development of study programs for the common courses of the LLU study programs and on formation of the steering team for development of proposals for transition to the system of courses.
The study program is planned by the Director of program planning and studies consulting the teachers of the program and administrators. After that the program is confirmed by the Board of the institute or faculty, Board of Studies and Senate. Independent experts assess the study program and course programs. There is a leading teacher for every course.
During the implementation of the program regular feedback with employers, graduates and students about its quality is provided.
The quality of studies is assessed by the obtained results of the enquiry among the students, grades in examinations, evaluation of colleagues, methodical work. The enquiry is carried out after finishing the complete course of the subject and before the regular elections of the teacher (the LLU group of sociologists). The results of the enquiry among students are discussed at the faculty or institute board meetings in the case of elections for the teacher’s post.
It is determined by the LLU target program that self – assessment is a continuous process but a summarizing meeting is held once in two years. Employers, graduates, teachers and students participate in it. In between the meetings there are consultations and discussions about the quality of the program between the concerned parties. The program is improved considering the proposals of students and graduates as well as employers and the Director of program planning and studies himself/herself analysing the situation in the potential work places.
One of the document packages characterizing the quality management is the individual portfolio of the LLU teachers. The documents for it are selected considering 10 criteria: scientific biography; during the last 5 years: publications, presentations at conferences, participation at exhibitions, research work, defended diploma/bachelor, master papers under supervision of the teacher; participation in teaching academic courses; results of enquiries among students about the work of the teacher; administrative responsibilities at the LLU and outside it; other research, educational, publishing and creative activities. The individual practice is separately evaluated during the elections in academic posts.
The results of studies are assessed considering the LLU Senate decision On uniform assessment of the qualitative results of studies.
The results of studies are assessed by two characteristics:
- qualitative – the grade in the 10 grade system,
- quantitative – credit points (CP) according to the amount of course credit points.
Final assessment of acquisition of the theoretical part is done in examinations or tests. In between the final assessment there is intermediate assessment carried out in control works, reports, projects, seminars etc.
The number of students within the programme
The number of students in the academic year 2005/2006 (as of June 1, 2006): in total 159 students:
Full-time studies: Year 1- 25 students (1 paying the tuition fee),
Year 2- 17 students (4 paying the tuition fee),
Year 3- 24 students (6 paying the tuition fee),
Year 4- 9 students(3 paying the tuition fee).
In total75 full-time students.
Part-time studies: Year 1- 18 students,
Year 2- 19 students,
Year 3- 23 students.
Year 4- 24 students.
In total84 part-time students.
The increase of the number of male students is especially noticeable in the groups of full-time studies.
The percentage of male students during the academic year 2005/2006:
Full-time studies: in Year 1 - 28%, in Year 2- 29%, in Year 3- 8%, in Year 4- 22%;
Part-time studies: in Year 1- 11%, in Year 2- 16%, in Year 3 - 22%, in Year 4- 21%.
The number of the 1st year matriculated students
The number of graduates
In the academic year 2005/2006 there are first 9 graduates of full-time studies. One new teacher (male) already worked as a teacher of household and information technologies at elementary education level, while studying in the 4th year. Almost all graduates already have been offered job at schools. As far as we know, 7 graduates are going to work as teachers. At present 6 graduates would like to study at the Master study programme of pedagogy.
We should admit that there had been considerable decrease in the number of students during study period from the 1st till the 4th study year, therefore we analyze the possible reasons:
Many students already at the moment of enrollment were not ready for the fact that at the new study programme Home Environment and Information Technologies in Education, developed on the basis of study programme Household-Pedagogy, they would have intensive studies of the sciences, as well as that there would be the considerable volume of the study courses of information technologies – their preliminary knowledge and interest about these study courses were not sufficient to make good progress at studies.
The level of young people’s motivation to become teachers is relatively low. Many of them start to study at a study programme they consider to be interesting, but, while studying, they understand that their calling is not to be a teacher. Besides, as we already mentioned, the content of studies is rather complicated. If there is no possibility to receive a diploma without making any special effort, many young people change their minds and discontinue their studies.
The decrease in the number of students, of course, is influenced by different socio-economic factors – such as domestic reasons, state of health, material provision. For example, if the student has academic debts from the previous study year, then there is no possibility to continue studies for the state budget finance, until the student successfully completes the studies of previous study year. Many students start working abroad to solve this problem and thus, in fact, withdraw the opportunity to return in the environment of studies.
The first students of the programme felt some uncertainty because of the fact that the programme was new, at the beginning only licenced, later - accredited, but originally – without a possibility to receive also the qualification of the teacher of information technologies certified by the diploma.
At the end of every term the students evaluate the content, the quality of lecture organization and the university lecturer of every study course. The students’ assessments are summarized by the leading member of the teaching staff, delivering the particular study course. This university lecturer performs the analysis of the results and draws conclusions to facilitate positive changes in the study process.
Once a study year the director of the study programme carries out students’ survey on the quality of the study programme on the whole.
There are surveys carried out on the students’ motivation to study.
In the academic year 2005/2006 the 4th year students of part-time studies were asked questions to find out, whether their professional activities are related to the speciality they are studying. Since there are no graduates of the study programme yet, who would have started their professional career after the completion of studies, we considered to be useful to find out, how many of potential first part-time studies graduates’ professional activities are already connected with their future profession.
The main conclusions resulting from the students’ survey regarding the quality of the study programme on the whole:
The students are satisfied with the content of the study programme on the whole. In general the studies are considered to be interesting. As the most positive the students emphasize that the study programme comprises the study courses related to both household and information technologies; there is a possibility to integrate both fields during the study process, as well as the research work; after the completion of studies there is a possibility to receive the qualification of the teacher of household/home economics and the teacher of information technologies at elementary education level.
Majority of students indicate that the programme corresponds or partially correspondents their prior views.
It is indicated that the studies are very intensive. As the most difficult study courses the students have mentioned Physics, Mathematics, Computer Hardware.
Students indicate also the shortcomings of the study process organization: the timetable of lectures is not always optimal, as well as there is no constructive communication between students and some members of teaching staff and other personnel.
At the same time the students note many study courses and members of teaching staff as especially successful regarding the implementation of study process, because the content of the study courses, methodology applied and the teaching staff’s professional and communication skills are of very high level. More often the students have mentioned the following study courses: IT in Education, Methodology of Household and Information Technologies, Didactics, School Management, Social Psychology, Adult Education, Environmental Pedagogy, Ecology, Pedagogy of Music and Art, Composition and the studies of colours, Weaving, Food Chemistry, Home Economics, Construction, Computer Graphics, Data Bases, WWW technologies, etc.
The students appreciate the administration of the study programme and indicate that the dean is very strict, the employees at the dean’s office are very professional, the director of the institute is responsive, the director of the programme pays attention to the students’ questions and takes into consideration their suggestions, and tries to solve the most urgent issues as soon as possible.
The material-technical and informative supply is considered to be appropriate and sufficient. As the positive factor is the stressed the wide range of possibilities offered by the library of the Institute of Education and Home Economics, which are suitable for the research. The students appreciate also the enlargement and modernization of the computer room of the Institute of Education and Home Economics.
The collaboration with the scientific advisors is evaluated positively. The students are also satisfied that they can choose their research topics freely – related to their professional activities or interests, and, of course, within the framework of themes studied.
The students suggest that for the evaluation of the programme and the continuous improvement of quality in addition to the survey there could used also: discussions with the students’ groups; meetings together with the administration (this form has been already used, since the director of the programme meets the part-time students during every period of exams, but the full-time students – time after time); survey by means of internet or a mailbox for the suggestions in the internet (these are important proposals); the director of the programme could visit some lecturers on the students’ request (we have agreed with the students that there is such possibility).
The results of the survey regarding the full-time students’ motivation
Answers to the question: “How and why did you choose your future profession?” (variants of answers: my own informed choice, by chance, under the friends or family’s influence)
On the whole more than a half of students have made their owninformed choice regarding the studies. These results prove also the teaching staff’s observation that a significant part of students have insufficient motivation to study.
Answers to the question: “Are you satisfied with your chosen profession?”
Offered variants of answers
The division (%) of students’ answers
In total almost 70% of respondents are satisfied with the speciality they are studying. Hovewer, only a bit more than a half of the 3rd and the 4th year students are satisfied. It could be connected with the fact that the students of these two years are those, who started their studies at a new programme, and, it is likely that their first idea about the content and result of studies has not proved to be completely right.
The results of the survey regarding the 4th year part-time students’ employement There were 19 respondents – the 4th year part-time students, out of which:
13 are teachers,
2 are librarians,
4 work in a different profession.
Subjects taught at a school by the 4th year part-time students
Professional activity and the connection between its commencement and the studies
Number of students
Teachers of Home Economics or any other related field (teachers of floristics, colours, style)
Out of them, the following number of students started to work as teachers of household while studying
Out of them, the following number of students started to work as teachers of information technologies while studying
Those working as teachers of household and information technologies
Almost 70% of the 4th year students of part-time studies are teachers, besides – the teachers of subjects, related to the specialization of studies. Most of students have started to work as teachers, while studying, which proves the positive motivation of studies. Almost 30% of working teachers are teaching at school both household and information teachnologies as it is envisaged by the qualification to be received after the completion of studies.
Participation of students in the improvement of study process
Within the frame of the courses the teachers ensure feedback with the students to obtain information on their educational background, additional interests, possibilities of independent work etc. that is taken into consideration during the studies.
As it is mentioned above, the director of the study programme performs regular student surveys and analysis the obtained information, as well as regularly meets the students’ groups for the discussion of topical issues and their solution as soon as possible.
The students or their representatives take part also in the seminars for the evaluation of the quality of programme, for example, when the strategical planning takes place; as well as the students participate in the seminars within the framework of ESF financed project, which are related to the practical training.
The Student Union is very active at the Latvia University of Agriculture, including also the Faculty of Engineering. Several students, studying at the study programme Home Environment and Information Technologies in Education are active members of the Student Union. The student representatives are also in the Senate of the Latvia University of Agriculture. If there would be issues, topical for students, which could not solved in collaboration with the director of the study programme or the dean of the faculty, there is a possibility to find the solution at the highest level of the administration of the Latvia University of Agriculture.
The students have a possibility to ask questions and to get answers as well as to express their proposals that are considered and discussed together with the students, evaluated.