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New Automated Activity-on-Node Calculation Grading Method for Construction Management Education Innovation | Journal of Civil Engineering Education


Construction management education in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) domain is increasingly challenged with managing limited resources while increasing instructors’ teaching effectiveness and improving students’ learning outcomes. To address this challenge, the authors proposed a new automated activity-on-node (AON) calculation grading (AACG) method to support AON grading without penalizing students for cascaded errors, improve grading efficiency, accuracy, and learning outcomes. In this paper, the proposed AACG method was evaluated in a sophomore level construction management course by cross-comparing grading and learning results in three consecutive semesters. The authors analyzed the benefits of the proposed AACG method through applying qualitative and quantitative analyses, in which the following learning theories were adopted for conducting qualitative analyses: grounded theory; instructional learning theory; science, technology, society, and environment (STSE) education theory; and self-assessment theory. Meanwhile, learning outcome factors assisted development and analysis of the proposed method. The AACG method was implemented using Excel and evaluated as applied to both formative assignments and summative exams. This study demonstrated that the AON grading challenges stemming from time constraints and learning outcome goals could be alleviated by the proposed AACG method. A comparative analysis revealed that the proposed AACG method could: (1) reduce grading time consumption especially when the score of each AON parameter is not an integer; (2) improve grading accuracy by reducing human errors that are involved in the traditional manual grading method; (3) provide simplified, timely, and explicit feedback to help students conduct self-assessment, encourage students’ active learning to improve learning outcomes; and (4) avoid penalizing students for cascaded errors in AON calculations. Although the statistical testing did not fully demonstrate significant improvement in time consumption and scores achieved when using the proposed AACG method, mean scores achieved and time consumption observably improved. An additional experiment comparing two exams of the same semester demonstrated significant improvement in scores achieved when using the proposed AACG method. The AACG method can also be applied to the grading of more general construction management topics when there are cascading relationships.

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