University of Twente Student Theses


Effects of curriculum characteristics on achievement in science and technical higher professional education

Harmsen, G.W. (2017) Effects of curriculum characteristics on achievement in science and technical higher professional education.

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Abstract:Over the past 15 years, study-success in higher professional education in the Netherlands has gradually declined. The focus of this research is the relationship between curriculum organisation and achievement in science and technical higher professional education. A multilevel analysis was done on study progress data of 2,683 1st year students in 4 cohorts and 1,175 2nd year students in 3 cohorts studying in 10 technical and applied science programmes in higher professional education. The majority of the students had a SGSE (HAVO) prior education (64% of the 1st year students). The research showed that for 1st year curricula the variation in the student achievement was related to curriculum characteristics, while no such relationship was found for the 2nd year curricula. Achievement is defined as the number of credits students obtain in one year of study. The hours on the timetable (planned contact time), organisation of the exams in terms of weeks between exams and exam re-sits and the number of parallel activities did not predict achievement. The curricula were characterised by the curriculum integration ratio. This ratio is a measure for the level of integration in a curriculum (“discipline” focus versus “real world” focus). Student achievement was found to be higher in less integrated 1st year curricula. Also the larger number of final grades, curricula with courses carrying smaller study load, and the time planned in laboratories and workshop, showed a positive relationship with achievement. The student’s perception of the curriculum was derived from national student survey data. Curricula on which students reported that they participate in all scheduled activities showed a higher achievement. This research showed that the effects of curriculum characteristics on achievement in higher professional education, with a majority of SGSE (HAVO) students, differed from research findings in academic universities with mainly PUE (VWO) students. To improve achievement of the SGSE (HAVO) students it is recommended to build curriculum models, that accommodate smooth transfer from secondary into higher professional education. Achievement at the start of the study career in higher professional education is promoted by a curriculum model, with limited integration, more opportunities to obtain credits (smaller courses) and activating (obligatory) contact time. Keywords: curriculum characteristics, effectiveness, higher education, higher professional education, progress, science education, study-success, technical education
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Saxion, Enschede, Netherlands
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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