Research in focus: The dimensions and components of education: a basis for assessment
An emphasis on the results of intellectual production may result in ignoring the means used to achieve the measured outcomes.
Objective: To structure the dimensions and components of education to be consistent with the aim of establishing institutional an teaching-learning assessment criteria that can bem applied to postgradate studies in Brazil.
• In a survey of the structure of the dimensions and components of education, the dimensions identified were the creation and systematization of knowledge, programs, courses and results. The components identified were objectives (course objectives, teaching objectives and the audience for the courses), content (the knowledge to be transferred), teaching strategy (how teaching is conducted to transfer content) and infrastructure (infrastructure and IT).
• The dimension and component criteria that are identified in the study are compared with the CAPES assessment requirements for postgraduate studies in Brazil.
• The assessment requirements for postgraduate studies in Brazil only partially cover the proposed criteria structure for the dimensions and components.
• Many aspects of the suggested structure are dispersed throughout the CAPES assessment.
• The external assessment of postgraduate programs that CAPES undertakes does not include the various aspects that should be considered by internal, other external or even international assessments.
• An emphasis on the results of intellectual production leads to the risk that the means used to achieve such results and the components of the courses themselves are ignored. Thus, educational institutions may concentrate their efforts on intellectual production and reduce the emphasis on guaranteeing a good education for their students. Another risk is that the assessment applies only to members of the university and not to the institution itself or to its courses.
• The incorporation of criteria based on various dimensions and components of education may lead to a more extensive assessment of postgraduate courses. The aim would then shift to assessing interrelationships rather than the university and its results, with an emphasis placed on dissertations, theses and intellectual production.
• An assessment criteria framework allows institutional, educational and academic management to be conducted in a more conscientious and sustainable way.
• Teaching institutions must have a broad and coherent set of criteria for assessing both institutional education and the teaching-learning process; external assessments are important, but they do not satisfy all criteria.