Self-Assessmentsystems are intended to give prospective students a foretaste of their studies and give them the decision for or against a subject. How does this work in detail?

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What are Self Assessment Centers?

HAW navigators - sounds a bit like student guides and in principle it is: The University of Applied Sciences (HAW) in Hamburg wants to use its self-assessment System Giving high school graduates a foretaste of their studies and making it easier for them to decide for or against a subject.

Prospective students get a lot of information and remember it, just like with a virtual student advisory service fastwhether a subject suits them or not. Participation, however, is not voluntary in most subjects: Anyone who is interested in a study place at HAW apply wants, should first test its “fit” for the course.

How helpful are self-assessments?

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In contrast to assessment centers, which are known from application processes, at the Online-Self-assessment is not observed and assessed by an assessor, but assesses oneself and tests one's suitability for a course of study. Using Internet-based exercises, different personality traits are checked according to suitability diagnostic criteria. However, the test results are only intended for oneself. Self-assessment procedures are not only used at universities, but also by companies Information used by applicants.

"If I hadn't been specifically informed about this when I applied to the university, I wouldn't have done the self-assessment",

is the twenty-three-year-old Benjamin Pridat from Hamburg, who is now studying mechanical engineering at the HAW in the third semester. Benjamin, who had chosen the course of study in a targeted way, felt strongly supported by the HAW navigators in his study decision. In retrospect, therefore, is glad to have gone through the virtual study advice:

“The program prepared me very well for everything that was later asked of me during my studies. In the test tasks, the focus was exactly on what will be important later in the course. And I also immediately noticed where I still had gaps in knowledge - for example in computer science. ”

What distinguishes self-assessments from suitability tests?

Exactly these Orientation was Objective of the HAW navigators, which were specially developed for the HAW by Hamburg-based CYQUEST GmbH: in various modules, they use text, images and videos to show what content and requirements future students can expect. The perspectives on the job market are also an important point: HAW graduates provide information about their everyday work in short films. You will also learn what it actually means to studieren. It is shown, for example, that you can set your own timetable to organize must and how one studies in a big city like Hamburg - because also such factors decide later about the success of the studies, as Joachim Diercks, Managing Director of CYQUEST, explains:

“In Hamburg it can quickly lead to long travel times between the individual study locations. Students who find that too much quickly notice through the self-assessment that they should better study in a small town. Otherwise it is a shame if someone has to stop studying because of such framework conditions. ”

In addition, the students in Spe also need a number of Tasks solve and test your skills. However, the question is not about the material that is covered in the course, but that Background, which should be available from school. However, the results of these tests are only given to the prospective students themselves: they receive a Feedbackhow good you were and an assessment of what level you are expected to achieve in order to be able to study successfully. On the basis of these results, you can then decide for yourself whether the results seem good enough to start your studies. A kind of voluntary self-regulation: Some, like Benjamin, are thereby confirmed in their choice of study. Others notice that you have had completely wrong ideas about a course of study: You notice, for example, that a Psychology- Studies also include a large proportion of mathematics and statistics. Or they realize that important things to them Basics are missing, which might make it difficult to study successfully complete.

Example 1: Technical understanding of the Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Spatial imagination is required when designing machine parts. Of course he needs it Developer also a good understanding of the functional relationships in its construction. The skills discussed here are not generally trained in school. However, the applicants should check whether they can do the task (the entire task including the solution can be found in the HAW Navigator of the Department of Mechanical Engineering):

When the gear 1 is turned clockwise, in which direction does the gear 6 move? Please mark the variant that you think is correct and then click on Next.

Example 2: Business Case of the Department of Economics

Candidate for foreign trade/international management (AIM), logistics/technical business administration or Marketing / Technical business administration should, among other things, go through an interactive case study, think about the everyday work of a product manager and deal with typical business and economic aspects. We will show you part of the task (you can find the entire task including the solution in the HAW Navigator of the department Economy):

"You are a product manager at "BEANZ AG" and responsible for the successful coffee brand "Jungle-High", a high-quality coffee made from the best Colombian highland varieties, which is primarily bought by young and trend-conscious target groups. As a product manager, you are the main person responsible for all aspects that the Brand concern “jungle high”. That means your strategic decisions influence, for example, the Costs the raw materials, the transport or the production as well as the packaging design or the selling price. They buy the raw coffee directly from the producer in Colombia, have it shipped to Germany, roast it in the company's own roastery and then sell it through various supermarket chains.

Various costs flow into the later end product, namely the “one pound pack” of “Jungle-High” on the supermarket shelf.

Together with your colleagues from Controlling, you have listed these different types of costs and broken them down into a “one-pound package”.

Task 1:

What is your total cost per "one pound pack"?

Task 2:

Just give one out of your gut feeling product at what price “Jungle-High” should be sold to the end consumer. Of course, you have to consider that it is not just you who benefit from every pack sold to earn (ie achieve a so-called contribution margin), but of course retail also needs a margin.

It is precisely in this mixture of extensive information about studying, background knowledge from professional practice and self-test that CYQUEST's managing director Diercks sees the advantages of his self-assessment system as opposed to mere aptitude tests, with which only knowledge resources are queried.

“In the end, our applicants are not told: 'You are suitable for the course and you are not.' Rather, future students should decide for themselves whether they are fit to study at the HAW, based on the information and test results feel. The university does not even see the test results, so they are not taken into account in the application."

Self-assessments and aptitude tests at universities at a glance

More and more universities are offering their students virtual study counseling, web-based aptitude tests or self-assessments. Contents and orientations are very different: Some are pure aptitude test, in which only the existing (subject) knowledge is queried and the candidate receives a recommendation at the end. Others help with self-assessment with information to make a decision. Most offers include only the subjects of their own university, some universities have their online offer limited to certain subjects. One exception is the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim.

University of Applied Sciences Hamburg (HAW):

Duration: 25-60 minutes

Structure: Depending on the subject, different modules on career prospects, study contents and requirements or study organization.

Evaluation: Feedback how good you were and a non-binding assessment of what level is expected in your studies.

Association of North German Universities:

Duration: 90-120 minutes

Structure: The inclination and suitability for the subjects in social, social, humanities, linguistics, law, economics and natural sciences are examined.

Evaluation: In the end, individual feedback on the extent to which your abilities and inclinations match the requirements of the study subjects of the Association of North German Universities.

Ruhr-University Bochum:

Duration: 90-120 minutes

Structure: Two modules: Module A contains a performance and aptitude test, module B contains information about the study program and career prospects.

Evaluation: very detailed on more than 20 pages, tailored to the Bochum offer

Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH):

Duration: 90 minutes

Construction: increase of difficulty, first Ask on school grades, personal strengths and weaknesses and interests, but also to logic and mathematics.

Evaluation: Based on the Aachen study program

University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim:

Duration: 20 minutes

Structure: 136 questions about school subjects, grades, interests and hobbies, self-assessment in certain areas from "I am interested to not interested at all" on a scale of 1 to 5.

Evaluation: The test refers not only to the own subjects in Hohenheim, but nationwide to about 160 subjects and about 500 professions, so the recommendations are not always accurate.

Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main:

Duration: 90 minutes

Structure: Self-assessment for the subject of computer science, which explicitly acts as part of the course guidance and should therefore not serve as the sole basis for decision-making. The system is still in the test phase. To carry out the self-assessment, it is not necessary to stay online. Once individual self-assessment modules have been downloaded, you can disconnect from the Internet and, if necessary, be prompted to activate the Internet connection. The data is then transmitted to the server.

Evaluation: After completing the self-assessment, you will receive detailed feedback that can assist you in your choice of study.

Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg:

Duration: 60 minutes

Structure: Self-assessment only for the subject English, which on the one hand gives a realistic preview of the content, work processes and requirements of the English studies at the University of Freiburg and on the other hand offers the opportunity to make your own Competencies to test.

Evaluation: On the basis of direct individual feedback, one can assess whether studying English in Freiburg is the right one Choice would.

What are the advantages of self-assessments?

As part of the HEAP university e-assessmentProjects various self-assessment and suitability procedures were extensively examined in four pilot projects in Hamburg between 2004 and 2006 - with consistently positive results for the self-assessments. Reason enough for the HAW Hamburg to introduce the system for all subjects throughout the university and to make it a mandatory part of the application process for a university place.

This virtual student advisory service has several advantages: First of all, the system addresses prospective students all over Germany - far more than a handful of local student advisors could cover. New students are also supported in choosing the right subject from the start. As a result, you have a lower risk of wasting time by changing subjects or dropping out of your studies verlieren. Applicants are not simply showered with information, but encouraged to actively participate.

Against wrong ideas

And the quality of the study is generally better, because the students are better prepared for the requirements and fit the subject, such as Professor Dr. Monika Bessenrodt-Weberpals, Vice President of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, explains

“We simply noticed again and again that freshmen had completely wrong ideas about the content of the course and then stopped it more often. This is all the more annoying when they have laboriously taken up a place in the course and then find that it is the wrong thing. One example are our media degree programs: Many applicants completely overlook the fact that a great deal of technical content is conveyed here. On the other hand, anyone who knows what to expect will study more successfully right from the start. ”

Where are the HAW navigators?

HAW has so far introduced self-assessments for the following programs:

At the moment, navigators for the degree programs are also being created at the HAW Education, ecotrophology, health sciences, environmental technology, process engineering, biotechnology, hazard control, rescue engineering, medical technology, media technology and media systems. By the end of the year, all courses at the HAW should be equipped with the Navigator system.

Does self-assessment make students more successful?

It remains to be seen whether self-assessment before graduation will actually lead to a more successful course of study: The first students who have gone through the application process with integrated self-assessments have just completed their first semester - still too early to say anything about the success of the study hold true. After all, the multi-payer of the prospective students, who could be virtually advised, the HAW navigators at the end of the procedure as a good to very good study preparation.

At other universities one is already one step further: For the project Megadigitale at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt / Main the first evaluation results are already available at least for the subject computer science. Here, the results of 76 Self-Assessments were compared with the results of the first exams using a pseudonym. The evaluation confirmed that there is a correlation between good test and test results.

The limits of self-assessments

So useful and practical self-assessments for study orientation are also: Of course, such systems also have their limits. Example HAW: Since it is only important to the university that an applicant has gone through the virtual study orientation at least once and you are not judged on your performance, it can of course also happen that an applicant just clicks through the navigator without using the content, just to check participation. In doing so, however, he primarily harms himself.

In the view of the German Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (dvb) eV, it is problematic to rely solely on the results of such online procedures in the self-assessment: even if these are what you can usually expect from self-assessments at universities , have been prepared according to strictly scientific methods and have been adequately tested in advance: the contents, requirements and results presented do not always correspond to reality. Often only partial areas of one's own abilities are tested, so test results are not always accurate.

Do not consider self-assessments

And self-assessments usually do not take into account that prospective students can still develop over time. For this reason, you should definitely discuss the recommendations of virtual study counseling with teachers or student advisors.

Prospective students should also clear make sure that a university always pursues its own interests with such a test: The HAW, for example, wants to use its navigators to make subjects with very low numbers of applicants particularly attractive, for example by presenting exciting career opportunities. At the same time, in subjects with a large number of applicants, applicants should be particularly aware of possible difficulties during their studies I aufmerksam be made - the deterrent effect is quite intentional. This can be positive if misconceptions about a subject are cleared up in this way, but it also shows that the quality of a self-assessment always depends on the intentions of those who do it. That doesn't make these virtual methods any less commendable for guidance, but they should never be viewed entirely uncritically.

Practical examples - here you will find an overview of all navigators at the University of Applied Sciences. To test one of the navigators, you can use the eMail-Address and the password “guest” and find all information, tasks and Solutions as well as your personal recommendation.

Examples of self-assessment procedures at the Job Search are the applications "CyPRESS", which offers insights into the Hamburg media group Gruner + Jahr, or the careers orientation game "Tr.AX", which provides information about the large variety of apprenticeships at Deutsche Bahn.

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