Knowledge that students of technical specialties can get by studying a branch of learning pertaining to the humanities is very important and definitely has a great value as it can make the socialization process easier. This process means that the fact of acquiring culture, adopting certain culture’s norms and values and the process of developing an engineering culture can be determined mainly by sociocultural values.
Professional activities do not exist only in a confined space as they exist in a particular socio-cultural sphere. At the same time the lower the knowledge of a technician in this sphere is, the higher is the possibility to show his dilettantism or irresponsibility in his narrow professional work. So, technical innovations can appear due to the certain needs of the whole society. People and equipment, needs and values can be mutually defined. The development of original technical ideas and innovative technologies that do not conform to the forward-looking ideals and actual needs of society unfortunately can lead to environmental, technological, socio-economic, political and humanitarian catastrophes threatening both ethnic groups and all mankind in the whole.
Nowadays it is not enough for an engineer to get only certain professional competence, as it must be combined with social competence. At the same time the conscious subordination of professional to value priorities of social and cultural life plays a key role here.
The system of higher education in Russia has a definite educational model which is sensitive to processes of informatization, globalization, computer technology, progressive concepts and international experience of educational services that occupy a leading position in the world market. Development and improvement of specific system of higher education in Russia is topical due to these trends.
The innovative nature of educational system should be found in organic combination of the best practice of traditional and modern models of interactive learning.
In the capacity of the innovation in the educational activity can be defined such processes as process of improving pedagogical approach, of using new techniques, knowledge and technology, in an attempt to produce a result in the form of educational services with a high market and social demand for it. At the moment innovative educational work is one of the most significant components of educational activity of every educational institution. This innovation is exactly the thing that creates the foundation for the competitiveness of an institution in the education market, besides it actually promotes the personal growth of students.
The basic methods of training include: explanatory-illustrative method, reproductive, the method of problem description, partially-researching method or heuristic, and method of researching.
All training methods have their pros and cons, so they should be correctly combined depending on the present conditions, goals and available time. Every method has its own specialization; none of them is equal or universal. That is why everything depends on the teacher, how he uses one or another method.
There are different forms of learning which can promote the improvement of quality of education and the basic forms of it are: role-playing and simulation games, dialogues, debates, independent creative work, communications, reports, essays protection, researches, testing, programmed control and the like.
The possibility of using an Internet, modern computer technologies and video-audio products give students an opportunity to learn more about the most controversial assessments of the same event. These can be the basis for an interactive dialogue.
Testing students’ knowledge and skills plays a significant role in achieving the desired learning outcomes. Such testing system performs several functions including supervising, training, developing and mentoring functions. The students’ knowledge is controlled during the course of study by wide test system including current, topical and final tests which are conducted using both traditional and innovative electronic means, forms and techniques.
The term "test" is defined as a system of tasks with a specific form, certain content and increasing difficulty that allows making an objective assessment of the structure and qualitatively measuring the level of preparedness of students.
The basic requirements for the test system include:
selection of thematic modules, interconnection of logic and difficulties;
terms - concepts must be well known and must be in line with the requirements of the curriculum and primary sources;
tasks should be short and the answer should takes you not more than 2 minutes;
the form of test should be uniform, standardized, familiar and comfortable.
Departments of Humanities are responsible for the development of different types of tests. Lecturers of the department prepare different types of tests according to their scientific and methodological developments. Such control papers usually include:
alternative questions with single or multiple choice answers;
establishing the compliance between such notions as terms and definitions, dates and events, fragments of historical sources and its names, choice of the most characteristic event for a particular period of history related to the life and work of an outstanding leader, matching pictures and events or names;
discussion and analytical questions for students with a task to confirm or refute the reduced point of view.
Scale scores for these tests correspond to the level of complexity.
Another kind of all the variety of tests is a diagnostic test. Its main aim is to test students' knowledge on key sections of the base education program.
Students mark the right answers on specially prepared forms with numbers or letters. This method can save teacher's time allocated for reviewing student’s work, as lecturer has a possibility of using encrypted key answers.
An electronic test presents a fast and effective form of feedback from student to teacher. It can be fully automated and very precise. The electronic test as a highly formalized instrument of evaluation of student’s knowledge has a specific position in the education process. This method is innovative in the humanities. There are special study rooms with computers in universities which are allocated especially for passing tests. A lecturer task is to prepare appropriate electronic program. Everything is done using a web browser and an appropriate web page. A typical electronic theme test is designed for 30 minutes and include from 20 to 40 tasks. This makes it possible to combine different forms of training during the seminar, aside from testing. A program of a random selection of 40 proposed questions is used in an e-testing. The duration of test-taking can be considered and some points for premature finishing of the test can be added. The end of the test in a specified time automatically guarantees the script. Besides this program uses training and test modes that means that a student can know the correct answer and percent of the right answers after he passes this test. The final electronic test consists of tasks concerning all subjects and it is approximate to the rehearsal tests FEPE (Federal Internet-exam in the field of professional education conducted in the testing form).
Checking knowledge by test is more reasonable than the traditional system of education as it allows to use the time allocated for studying more efficiently. Moreover, testing students’ knowledge using electronic tests is a unique method of evaluation of the results in the education process employing modern technologies of the Internet. Implementation of electronic didactic tests helps the teacher to evaluate students’ work and preparation and to present results in a transparent and objective form.
Test control provides a possibility of simultaneous testing of students' knowledge of the group, gives them a motivation to prepare for each class and disciplines them, especially if the teacher uses a rating system of assessment.
But every teaching method has its drawbacks. What do we lose in the case of using this test system?
Appears a possibility of substitution of educational goals. This means that educational purposes of students work can be changed as they would rather get an excellent test results than catch the object of study.
The content of the educational process can be decreased. It's hard to cover humanitarian subjects by tests. Some modules, topics, facts are easily verified by testing, and others are hardly verified. It is difficult to create such tests that can check the ability to talk coherently, discourse and think logically.
We can lose the culture of speech as it is impossible to check it by tests.
This system do not take into the consideration students' psychological characteristics as some of them have phlegmatic temperament or just can be a slowpoke or feel experiencing panic before the test procedure. It is worth saying that a high achiever who mastered the knowledge, can worse cope with his test than a mediocre student, who just learned the techniques of answering for tests, especially in electronic form.
Instructor's qualification can reach bottom. It is so because using of ready-made tests greatly facilitates their work and release it from the most routine part.
So, it should be clearly understood that a test is a method of checking students' knowledge but it is neither main nor the only one method. Otherwise there is always a risk to prepare a non thinking specialist.
It is important to rely in determining the effectiveness of teaching methods not only on the traditional decision-making model or innovative interactive, not on paper or new electronic form, but on the ultimate goal. That is why the most important criterion of effectiveness is the ultimate productivity of teaching methods. It is a mistake to consider that "trendy" teaching methods and tools are the most appropriate. Everything depends on the teacher's professional skills, his knowledge and skills in the selection of effective means for a particular course of studying. At the same time one should take into the consideration the degree of preparedness of students to work independently. According to these positions it is advisable to take into account both extent of demand for each of the methods and the contention of modern methods of university teaching.
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Что плохого в тестах? [электронный ресурс] / Режим доступа: http://www.scepsis.ru/library/id_614.html (20.07.2012)
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