At the Mari State Technical University the academic activity transfer to the modular-rating technology as a means of students´ training quality improvement is being considered. For four years of the experiment performance the teaching of all the disciplines has been transferred to this technology.
The rating system of students´ knowledge evaluation respects the current valuation principle based on the four-point system, but significantly widens its opportunities, promotes a more accurate, objective estimation. Thereat, the evaluation of every separate student´s knowledge is performed in public, on the objective criteria established on the basis of the obligatory knowledge minimum defined by the state educational standards.
The most important element of the students´ knowledge evaluation rating system is the acknowledgement of the fact that all the disciplines are equal, equisignificant in terms of their influence on the formation of knowledge, abilities and skills. That is why at the development of standard provisions on the RHYTHM system all the disciplines irrespective of their volume in hours according to the curriculum, the availability of an examination or pre-exam were evaluated equally - on the 100-point scale.
The principle of the modular-rating system is the rating on the discipline. The appraisal on every discipline is defined as the sum of points gained by the students as a result of heir work in the semester (current performance) and on the pre-exam and examination (interim attestation). While filling out the pre-exam and exam records the students´ semester work result on the 100-point scale is put down in to a special graph.
The process of academic disciplines study based on the modular-rating technology is performed on the modular principle, when the academic disciplines´ content is divided into logically complete parts (modules) finished with a control action (a quiz, calculation-graphic job, colloquium, test). Every module includes obligatory activity types - laboratorial and practical works, seminars, individual home works. Besides the obligatory activity types students can implement extraordinary works on their choice (participating in an academic competition, writing an abstract, reporting at a conference, solving advanced complexity problems beyond the obligatory level, performing complex laboratory research).
The modular-rating principal conditions are the same for all the academic disciplines and all the Departments of the University. The development of flow process sheets for every separate discipline, the choice of methods, review procedures used, current and interim attestation procedure, admittance conditions, rating scale on separate modules, units and tasks is the creative prerogative of the Department Faculty.
While working on the modular-rating system there is a possibility to evaluate students´ knowledge without examinations or a special pre-exam. A feature of the modular-rating technology realization at the University is that this condition works in the case of a successful passing through the final control test. The students carried out the semester program to the full extent are admitted to the final control test. The control test is of generalizing character and must show how well the student has digested the facts on the program of the whole semester. The control test assignments comprise the whole material studied during the semester. On the complexity the assignments are focused on the level of requirements formed in the National Educational Standards on the given discipline.
The technology of Internet-Testing of students is a quite promising direction of the education quality system development and is logically fit in the realized organization scheme of the academic activity. The Internet-examination results on many academic disciplines are used as the final control test, and also are taken into consideration as extra points when summarizing the students´ work.
Our University is one of the few Russian higher educational institutions having taken part in all seven sessions of the Internet-examination, both number of the students taking part in the Internet-examination and that of the subjects for testing being growing from time to time. During the FEPE-6 more than 7000 students of the University passed the Internet-examination on 18 academic disciplines.
With due consideration of our regular participation in the Internet-examination procedures the results showed by our students in the Internet-examination were recognized as official ones at the integrated checkout of the University in February, 2008.
The modular-rating system allows getting information about the rating of any student in all the disciplines both for the semester and the whole time of study. The general rating can be considered as a quantitative criterion, which can influence the scholarship award, the opportunity to continue the education at the magistracy and postgraduate school.
The information system created at the University makes the continuous monitoring of the students´ current performance possible. The leadership of the University and its Departments can get the information about every student´s work results in all the academic disciplines at any moment, that allows taking correct managerial decisions. The organization of the academic process on the modular-rating technology has allowed:
a) the students - to organize a regular smooth work on the material assimilation; to evaluate the state of their work on the study of a concrete academic discipline every day of the semester; to adjust the current individual work during the semester; to know objective indexes of their knowledge in individual modules of a discipline and forecast the final appraisal in the discipline;
b) the teachers - to plan the academic activity in the discipline rationally; to know the course of the material assimilation by the students and training teams; to adjust the academic process organization on the current control results timely; to define the final appraisal accurately and objectively with due account for the current performance and the examination;
c) the Deaneries and Departments - to search for possibilities to perfect methods and means of training and control; to analyze the teachers´ work; to improve the control over the academic process course; to evaluate the work of every student and training team on the current control results and adjust the academic process organization swiftly, and also to work out disciplinary measures;
d) the University administration - to get operative information about the current and final performance of the students and take correct managerial decisions.
The transfer of the University to the new educational technology has allowed achieving the following fundamental results:
- normative documents on the modular-rating system introduction have been developed;
- general methods of modular training technology building at the large-scale system implementation have been worked out;
- the program module of research and information system management has been elaborated, a new information medium has been created to provide the academic process and control its results on the basis of information-communication technologies;
- The system of students´ computer testing has been implemented;
- The approaches to the students´ academic activity evaluation have been defined.
The work was submitted to the International Scientific Conference «The problems of quality education», August, 16-23, 2008, Antalya (Turkey), came to the editorial office on 20.06.2008.