Magazine article The Catalyst

Performance Evaluation Portfolio Program (Pepp) - an Electronic Tool for Asessment and Personal Marketing

Magazine article The Catalyst

Performance Evaluation Portfolio Program (Pepp) - an Electronic Tool for Asessment and Personal Marketing

Article excerpt

Abstract

The paper describes a tool to assess student learning, evaluate academic performance of students and aid students in career initiation and enhancement through the use of the Performance Evaluation Portfolio Program (PEPP). "What have graduates learned?" is a key question in the new AACSB accreditation standards. This paper will show how one university documents student learning and provides students with a career marketing edge through an innovative web-based portfolio program. The assignments in PEPP showcase student competencies, document learning outcomes across the curriculum, and provide graduating seniors with a personal marketing tool. The paper will discuss how the program was implemented, its benefits, and the lessons learned.

Introduction and History

A common phenomenon among undergraduate students is that they are confused about career paths, job opportunities, and what it takes to market themselves to prospective employers. In early 2002, after many meetings and discussions, the School of Business faculty at clayton State University (CSU), a technology-focused university located in south metro Atlanta, reached a consensus that a portfolio enhanced business curriculum might act as a passport to a chosen career for School of Business graduates while aiding to assess student learning and program outcomes. In surveying prospective employers it became clear that business graduates needed to demonstrate excellent oral and written communication skills, research skills, technology skills and substantial knowledge of a firm and its competitors. Therefore, the faculty decided to differentiate CSU business graduates by emphasizing skill building activities, stress technological applications in business, making the curriculum industryfocused so that each graduate would be able to communicate uncommon understanding of the firm and industry where they would prefer to work upon graduation. Consequently, PEPP was designed to demonstrate students' business knowledge and skills and in turn help the School meet its mission of providing quality undergraduate education in business administration to traditional and non-traditional students, leading to successful careers. PEPP is comprised of assignments that link the required courses in the BBA curriculum and enable students to demonstrate how they have learned to use information to make and communicate business decisions. Assignments include software applications, marketing proposals, financial analysis, economic analysis, marketing plans, Gantt charts, and forecasting.

The initial focal point was the Introduction to Business course, where students identify their personal interests and abilities, career paths that match their inclinations, and an industry that would provide suitable career paths to motivated students like them. Students in the Introduction to Business courses are urged to declare an industry of interest and maintain a portfolio (using PEPP assignments) of course work relating to their industry choice.

Beginning in the fall semester of 2002, several other required courses in business (sophomore and junior business core courses and the capstone business strategy course) had major assignments designated as PEPP assignments. When the program was first implemented, students who began as business majors with fewer than 60 credit hours were required to complete a CD-ROM PEPP Portfolio as part of their graduation responsibilities. (Other students were required to complete the assignments for their courses, but they had the option of not completing the CDROM if they were lacking at least eight assignments.) The assignments were designed to demonstrate each student's competencies in subject matter and various skill areas. Syllabi contained a designated PEPP assignment that clearly defined what task(s) the student would do and described the required quality and format of the output. In the summer of 2003, CD copies of the PEPP assignments were made and sent to students who graduated in May, 2003. …

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