RULES_MATH: NEW RULES FOR ASSESSING MATHEMATICAL 
COMPETENCIES

Araceli Queiruga Dios, Deolinda M. L. D. Rasteiro

(In 19th SEFI Mathematics Working Group Seminar on Mathematics in Engineering Education, June 2018)

In recent years, one of the university teachers’ goals is to change the educational paradigm and make the teaching and learning processes in accordance with students’ needs of meaningful learnings.

The way of teaching mathematics becomes different depending on the degree. Mathematics for a mathematician has a different approach to that of the mathematics for an engineer.

Realistic mathematics education (Heuvel-Panhuizen and Drijvers, 2014), problem-based learning (Mills and Treagust, 2003), computer-aided learning, and some other methodologies are used to try to incorporate competencies-based methodologies into engineering curriculum.
In mathematics contexts, students could not solve problems if we make small changes, such as the name of variables, the environment of the problem, or the problem statement.
Students seem to be “mechanical” actuators repeating some known procedures to solve problems or patching various parts of previous solutions together to match the new problem situations (Woods et al., 1997). 
The main goal of the majority of students seems to be to end its degree as soon as possible not dedicating the sufficient amount of time to understand how the process evolves starting with the problem, the concepts that are important to obtain and how they can be applied to obtain the solution.
With this in mind, 9 institutions from 8 countries have joined to address the objective of working towards a common way of teaching and assessing mathematical competencies: the Institute of Mathematics and Physics from Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Gazi University in Ankara, the Czech Technical University in Prague, the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics from University of Plovdiv Paisii Hilendarski, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid, the Coimbra Polytechnic - ISEC, the Dublin
Institute of Technology, the Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest, and the University of Salamanca.
The main objective of the Rules_Math project is to develop assessment standards for a competencies-based teaching and learning system specifically designed for mathematics in engineering education. 
From September, 2017, to September, 2020, we plan to work in 3 specific objectives: (1) To develop a collaborative, comprehensive and accessible competencies-based assessment model for mathematics in engineering context, (2) to elaborate and collect the resources and materials needed to devise competencies-based
assessment courses, and (3) to disseminate the model to European higher education institutions through the partner networks and also promote the dissemination all over Europe.

To address these aims and objectives we will use a competencies-oriented methodology.
Generally speaking, preparation for a mathematics teaching profession is completely insufficient if it is just about acquiring mathematical mastery, no matter at what level this occurs. Usually teachers of high school mathematics universities and institutes pursue different major from the ones that intend to be school teachers. Thus pedagogic and didactic disciplines do not make part of their formation curriculum resulting, sometimes, if there is not the necessary self-learning ambition, in a relation teacher/student that is not complete.
The institutions involved in Rules_Math project have long experience in innovation and they have adapted their degrees to the Bologna Accord. Despite the differences in teacher
training and the organizational frameworks for teaching mathematics, there is a great similarity in the problems, perspectives and discussions regarding mathematics teaching in the different partner institutions. Not only one can learn from the good ideas of other colleagues, but also improve the teaching-learning systems and processes. In this way, from an international perspective, teaching engineering mathematics is a global laboratory which can be of advantage to our objectives.

Rules_Math project pretends to renew existing forms of teaching mathematics as a way to strength education and training paths of educators, and the achievement of high quality skills and competencies. This will be done using digital resources and online platforms.