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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the method of officer cadet assessment employed by the Royal Canadian School of Mechanical Engineering utilizing the critical requirements and peer rating techniques. Otke, Paul Gerald

Abstract

The Royal Canadian School of Mechanical Engineering at Camp Chilliwack, British Columbia, assesses officer cadets on a five point scale, in terms of 13 qualities which are considered by RCSME to be characteristic of a "good man". This research was undertaken for the purpose of critically examining this assessment method to suggest possible improvements to it. The assessment method was examined in two ways : (a) By carrying out a job analysis by means of the critical incident technique to derive Critical Requirements for COTC cadets and use these as a basis for judging whether or not the criteria of assessment at present in use are well formulated; (b) By obtaining peer ratings by the cadets themselves to serve as a basis for-examining the validity of assessments that have been made by the existing procedures. The Critical Incident Technique, as outlined by Flanagan, was used to obtain incidents from the entire cadet population and from the instructors who were currently involved with or were familiar with COTC training, There were three major differences between cadets and instructors in the incidents collected: (a) the rank orders of incidents showed marked differences for a few Critical Requirements but in general considerable similarity existed; (b) the number of incidents collected from certain locations differed, and (c) a disproportionately large number of ineffective incidents were contributed by instructors. A detailed comparison was made between the Critical Requirements isolated in this study and the categories employed at the RCSME in the assessment of cadets. There were 11 Critical Requirements for which no corresponding categories existed. Three main objections to tie RCSME categories were discussed. Peer ratings were obtained for the entire cadet population. These predicted future officer performance without being unduly affected by popularity. The peer ratings of First Phase cadets were found to be more accurate than those of Second Phase cadets. Peer ratings were scored by weighted and unweighted scoring techniques. Both methods yielded almost identical results. The unweighted scoring technique, however, requires fewer calculations and is less time consuming. The results of this study indicated that peer ratings can be used as an independent measure of officer cadet performance. Two improvement procedures were suggested. First, that the Critical Requirements isolated in this study be used as a basis for assessment in the form of a check list or other device and, second, that the employment of peer ratings be incorporated as one of the components of the assessment method.

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