Learning Data

Pass rates, grade distributions, and pre- and post-test administered during the courses are the primary means by which the Waterloo Professional Development (WatPD) program is evaluated at the learning level. With few exceptions, all three of these metrics have remained consistent over time.

Course Pass Rates

Over 90% of students in the elective courses (PD3–PD7) and required Engineering courses (PD20 and PD21) receive their credits, while the non-Engineering required courses (PD1, and PD11/PD12 (formerly PD2)) have lower pass rates, but typically still range between low eighty and low ninety percent. When students do not earn their credits, a common explanation is that they did not login to the course whatsoever.

Course Averages

The vast majority of students complete all of their coursework despite the fact that they technically earn their credits midway through the term. The overall course averages clearly demonstrate effort beyond the minimum requirements. All WatPD course grades are roughly normal in their distribution with a notably negative skew. Averages are analyzed both holistically and at the faculty-specific level. To date, none of the faculty-specific differences have been deemed statistically significant.

Pre- and Post-tests

Pre and post-test results across terms are the final area in which WatPD learning data is evaluated. The WatPD pre and post-tests consist of ten multiple-choice questions and each question addresses a main objective from one of the weeks. While there are acknowledged limitations to this type of analysis, the results do provide some information about the knowledge that students have coming in to the course, the knowledge they have leaving the course, and the degree of change throughout the ten week term. Across PD courses, students perform an average of 26% higher on their post-test than they do on their pre-tests. And similar to the course averages, statistically significant differences across faculties are non-existent.