Brooks, Donald Andrew John
Training the military engineer: a study of assessment and its validity.
The Open University.
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The Army train their personnel using a system called 'The Systems Approach to Training' (SAT). The system develops the results of a job analysis into course training objectives that are used to define Army training courses. The outcome expected from the Army training system is individuals who are competent to perform the job they are trained for. The focus of this study is the electrical and mechanical military engineers trained by the Army to carry out engineering tasks throughout the world. They are trained in accordance with SAT but at the end of the courses they are also awarded a BTEC HND. The outcome of the courses is therefore to produce an HND qualified, competent military engineer. This study is concerned with how the students on the courses are assessed as competent and in what way this assessment is valid. There are different forms the validity could take, e.g. content, construct, and criterion-related, however the theory has moved away from individual forms to a unitary concept, with construct validity as the integrating force that binds it together. This study sets out to evaluate the nature of the validity of the course assessments in terms of this unitary concept. An evaluation of the validity of assessment requires more than an exploration of conceptions of validity, assessment content and assessment methods. As the assessment is used to assess military engineering competence this study is concerned with issues of competencebased assessment. Defining engineering competence as the construct presents two problem areas that threaten the validity of the assessment, domain specification and the use of the assessors' judgement. Specific theoretical criteria against which to assess the validity of the assessment must be defined. The criteria will focus on how the construct is represented in the assessment and the claims made for the assessment in terms of predicting occupational performance. This study will be an exploration into the nature of the validity of the assessment of military engineering competence. The results of this study will support the view that the assessment of competence and the validity of that assessment are complex issues, and my study will make a contribution towards the understanding of these issues for those concerned with the theory and practice of education.
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