Research

Researcher
Research Title
  

Dr. Akbariah Mohd. Mahdzir

[su_spoiler title=”Measuring university students’ critical thinking aptitude: are we using the right measurement tool? “]

Abstract

A lot has been said recently regarding the products of Malaysian universities. One of the most highlighted issues was the perception from many parties that our graduates were not able to think critically. But that statement was merely a statement that has been blown out of proportion. As to date, there was a great shortage in researches that thoroughly looks into university students’ critical thinking ability, and produces a result that can authenticate the statement that Malaysian graduates are not critical thinkers.

The aim of this paper is therefore to look at how the Rasch Model will be able to facilitate the validity process in an effort to measure critical thinking aptitude in a multiracial, multi religion and multilingual society in a developing country in South East Asia like Malaysia.

The instrument used for this research was adapted and translated from William Critical Thinking Assessment (Williams CTA, 2002). The CTA was designed to measure 4 sub-constructs: analysis, evaluation, inferences and interpretation. This instrument was claimed to be unidimensional and comprise a single factor, and the most recent Cronbach Alpha Coefficient was contended to be between .80 to .83 (William, 2002).

The definition guiding the development of the instrument is based on the Delphi Model(Facione, 1992). Data collected was analyzed based on the Rasch Model for dichotomous data using the computer application, WINSTEPS version3.57.3.(Linacre). In addition, the data were also analyzed using SPSS version 11.5. The sample consisted of 567(2nd and 3rd Year) students representing students from 12 different courses from two public universities.

The results show that the instrument has very high item reliability (0.99). However, person reliability is too low (.14). On the whole, the students’ critical thinking aptitude seems to be at a low level too. Are these supposedly selected students unable to think critically then? Are we using the correct measurement tool?

This paper will answer this question.

The final report is being readied for November 2010

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[su_spoiler title=”The development of a Malaysian H.E. Critical thinking instrument (macti) prototype: Conceptualisation and psychometric properties”]

Abstract 

The aim of this research is to investigate the viability of the definition of critical thinking as being conceptualized by the researcher. It aspire to meticulously and thoroughly develop a single, multipart instrument that is able to measure the individual constructs of critical thinking as defined by the researcher, among university’s students in a multiracial, multi religion and multilingual society in a developing country in South East Asia.

Finally, The proposed model will be validated. The Rasch model will be applied in the development process since it has been proven to be able to help in the construction of valid, reliable and unbiased items pertaining to attributes to be measured. The qualitative approached was used during the first stage since this is the most suitable approach in conceptualizing of what it meant by Critical Thinking by experts in Malaysia. Specifically the researcher adopted the case study method using the interview and document analysis technique.

During the second stage, important constructs that the researcher believes to be able to measure critical thinking were identified. Items were created based on the Instrument Blueprint. MaCTi consisted of four major constructs which are Cognitive Complexity, Disposition, Metacognition and Conscience. MaCTI was distributed and the data were analysed. Items were then improved and the test was run again. The final test has basically gone through four cycles of the validation process. The respondents consisted of 2063 3rd and final year university students from 7 public university in Malaysia.

The final report is being readied for November 2010

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[su_spoiler title=”Pemikiran kritis dalam pembelajaran sepanjang hayat : suatu penerokaan definisi konseptual “]

Abstract

Tujuan kajian ini adalah untuk memahami maksud sebenar pemikiran kritis dari perspektif masyarakat Malaysia  serta mengkonseptualisasikan pemikiran kritis yang lebih sensitif terhadap keperluan masyarakat Malaysia. Secara asasnya, terdapat keperluan yang amat serius untuk membina satu konsep dan kayu ukur yang berdasarkan realiti budaya masyarakat setempat.

Oleh yang demikian, persoalan di sini ialah kesesuaian konseptualisasi pemikiran kritis yang berorientasikan psikologi barat yang sedia ada digunapakai untuk digunakan dalam konteks tempatan. Oleh itu, terdapat keperluan yang amat serius untuk mengkaji situasi ini seterusnya menyediakan satu asas yang mantap dan yang lebih menepati keperluan masyarakat Malaysia.

Pengkaji telah menggunakan kajian kes yang memberi fokus kepada pandangan  pakar tentang apa yang dimaksudkan dengan pemikiran kritis.  Gabungan dari teori-teori yang diutarakan oleh pakar-pakar pemikiran serta hasil dari kajian kualitatif, pengkaji telah mengenalpasti empat konstruk utama dalam mentafsirkan pemikiran kritis iaitu: kebolehan kognitif, kecenderungan, metakognisi dan nurani/cahaya-hati.

Secara asasnya, pengkaji mencadangkan bahawa terdapat hubungan yang kuat diantara keempat-empat elemen yang dinyatakan dalam mentafsir pemikiran kritis dalam konteks tempatan. Adalah amat diharapkan dapatan kajian ini dapat menyumbang kepada pemahaman yang lebih mendalam mengenai pemikiran kritis yang berorientasikan Malaysia serta mengambil kira persepsi yang lebih menyeluruh seterusnya dapat membantu dalam proses pembelajaran sepanjang hayat.

Secara asasnya, kebolehan untuk berfikir kritis secara automatis akan menjuruskan individu  kepada pencarian dan menerokaan ilmu sepanjang hayat.

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[su_spoiler title=”The Construction Of An E-Learning Bilingual Model For An Engineering Mathematics Subject At Universiti Teknologi Malaysia City Campus”]

Zur’aini Dahlan, Akbariah Mohd. Mahdzir, and Sya Azmeela Syariff

Abstract

This study explores learning of an engineering mathematics subject through the absorption of materials presented in digital media form with e-learning as the environment; where the text-based model being constructed has a medium primarily in the English language with an exact form available in Bahasa Malaysia.

Content is identified to provide descriptions of core concepts dynamically using video, audio and graphics, and also constructed to present consistent elements of the problem set to the students, to engage students in the solutions which is gradually increasing in the complexity of the applied rules and principles.

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[su_spoiler title=”What Do They Actually Gained From Group Work? An Analysis Through Rasch Model”]

Abstract

In order to incorporate the culture of excellence among students at the University of Technology in Malaysia, several graduate attributes such as communication skills, team working, problem solving, adaptability, lifelong learning, self-esteem, ethics and integrity, have been identified as some of the most important generic skills to be instilled in students for fulfilling the requirement of employers in corporate sectors and other working environment. 

The idea in instilling the above-mentioned skills for any class do seem implausible, nevertheless by customizing teamwork activities among students for class presentation of selected topics in the subject create an interesting learning process in the acquisition of both the academic content and generic skills. 

The subjects consists of 77 students majoring in computer science, are divided 18 groups where each of them has 5 members.  The students were required to select strategies and to design contents for group presentation on a topic in the mathematics subject.  Group discussions and actual presentations were recorded. 

Later in the semester each group assumes expertise in the topic they have presented and peers may seek them for reference in their studies of that particular topic. With regard to the scaling of generic skill enhanced through the presentation approach in Mathematics 3 class, ‘team working’ seems to be the skill that students felt they most gained.  It was quite unexpected to discover that the students felt that the two least gained skills from the whole exercise were communication skill and work ethics. 

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[su_spoiler title=”The application of rasch model in the development of voting pattern indicator (vpi) instrument amongst the young”]

Abstract

The aim of this research was to investigate the viability of the definition of voting pattern as being conceptualized by the researcher. Its main intention was to meticulously and thoroughly validate a single, multipart instrument that is able to measure the individual constructs of voting behaviour as defined by the researcher supported by previous research conducted in Malaysia.

More specifically, the study aimed to establish the indicators of voting patterns for the upcoming 2012 general election, among higher education students in a multiracial, multi religion and multilingual society in a developing country in South East Asia. The Rasch Model was applied in the validation process since it has been proven to be able to help in the construction of valid, reliable and unbiased items pertaining to attributes to be measured.

The qualitative approached was used during the first stage since this is the most suitable approach in conceptualizing of what it meant by experts in Malaysia. During the second stage, important constructs that the researcher believes to be able to measure voting behaviour were identified. 59 items were created based on the Instrument Blueprint.

VPI consisted of four major constructs which are (i) Voters awareness on their rights to vote (ii) Effective Governance with three sub-constructs: social issues, social welfare and economic issues, (iii) Leadership with two sub-constructs: the representatives and the prime minister, and (iv) Representatives’ Attributes with six sub construct: physical appearance, gender, race, religion, financial status and level of education. VPI was distributed and the data were analysed.

The findings were based on these aspects: (a) Construct definition-the spread of the items ; (b)Summary of item difficulty and person ability-item-person map; (c) Item polarity- point-measure correlation index; (d) Fit statistics-infit and outfit; (e) Unidimensionality-RPCA; (f) Result that are consistent with the aims of measurement-Reliability and Separation; (g) Instrument usefulness- SEM as the guidance; (h) Test targeting- item and person mean within ± 2.0 SE; (i) Person fit; and (j) Usability of the measurement scale- category and step calibrations. Items were then improved and the test was run again. The respondents consisted of higher education institution students from both the private and public institutions in Malaysia.

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[su_spoiler title=”Is there any significant racial differences in the voting pattern amongst the young in Malaysia?”]

Abstract

Voting is an essential component of democratic elections. Election in Malaysia in particular is very unique because of its multiracial, multi religion and multilingual democratic society. Political scientists and scholars are interested to look into the factors that influence people votes in this kind of environment.

This field needs a tool that can identify and assess voting pattern among youths quickly with validity and reliability. The goal of this article is to evaluate the racial/ethnic differential item functioning (DIF) of the Voting Pattern Indicator (VPI) Instrument using the Rasch Model.

VPI consisted of 59 items with four major constructs which are (i) Voters awareness on their rights to vote (ii) Effective Governance with three sub-constructs: social issues, social welfare and economic issues, (iii) Leadership with two sub-constructs: the representatives and the prime minister, and (iv) Representatives’ Attributes with six sub construct: physical appearance, gender, race, religion, financial status and level of education.

The instrument was given in different languages namely Malay, English, Mandarin, and Tamil based on the respondents preference. Data were collected from 200 youths between 18 and 21 years of age. DIF was identified in some items, raising concerns about some subscale that may require some further examination and revision.

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[su_spoiler title=”The Application of Rasch Model in the development of voting pattern indicator (VP) instrument amongst the young”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Validation of perceived value index for blended learning course: An application of Rasch Model.”][/su_spoiler]

Dr-Noraini-OthmanDr. Nooraini Othman [su_spoiler title=”Investigating The Mediating Roles Of Spiritual And Emotional Intelligences Between Life Factors And Adolescent Delinquent Behaviours”]

Abstract

This study is aiming to investigate the prevalence of delinquent behaviour amongst students in secondary schools in the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia as well as factors that lead to this behaviour. Instead of linking several factors to delinquency, this study is proposing that spiritual and emotional intelligences act as mediators between life factors (family, school and peer variables) and delinquent behaviour.

An estimated total of 550 students from secondary schools in the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia will be participating in this study. The sample will be selected via stratified random sampling technique (cluster by cluster). Participants will be required to respond to a few sets of self-report inventories relating to their family, schools and friends; emotional and spiritual intelligence inventories; and they will also be given a checklist of behavioural problems that they have committed. Data will be analysed using SPSS and AMOS. 

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[su_spoiler title=”The Parent-Child Conflict: Types Of Origin And Roles Of Parenting Practices”]

Abstract

Parents play the most important role in determining whether parent-child conflict occurs because they have superiority before their children become adults. The purpose of the study is 1) to identify the types of origins of parent-child conflict from the child’s perspective; 2) to investigate the roles of parenting practices in parent-child conflict; 3) to identify the relationship between the parenting practices and personality type of the respondents.

The instrument used in this study was self-developed by the researcher and its reliability has been tested using Cronbach’s Alpha test with the value of 0.9552. Data was collected using questionnaire and analysed using SPSS version 16.0. Descriptive statistics was used to analyse the origin of conflict.

Inferential statistics that is Pearson correlation analysis was use at significant level of 0.05 to identify the relationship between the origin of conflict, parenting style and respondents’ personality type. Research findings showed the origins of conflict are attitude of parents and child, child’s academic factor, discipline and self-management. There are significant strong relationships between personality type and parenting style, the origin of conflict and parenting style and the origin of conflict and personality type. 

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[su_spoiler title=”“Profile of Psycho-Spiritual Personality Characteristics Among the Muslim Teenagers”.”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”“Profil Ciri Personaliti Modal Insan Dinamik dan Inovatif”.”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”“Integrating and Strengthening Human Value in Malaysian Development Policy”.”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”“Fostering Innovation and Leadership Style Toward Achieving Higher Education Transformation Plan”.”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”“Leadership Of Women Policy-Makers In The Education Industry”.”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”“Infusion of Innovation in Vocational Education and Training”.”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”“The Moderating Effect of Religious Orientation in Managing Anxiety Among Breast Cancer Patients””][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”“Kajian Garis Panduan dan Matrik Kriteria Penubuhan Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Swasta””][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Consultancy Project on Environmental Policies – Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE)”][/su_spoiler]

Dr-Noraihan
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Norihan Abu Hassan
[su_spoiler title=”Diagnosing Developmental Dyscalculia Among Primary School Students”]

Abstract

This research focus on the early STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)  areas to detect learning difficulties in Mathematics during primary school years within the context of the teaching and learning environment (Kuenzi 2008). The main aim of the research is to diagnose the presence of developmental dyscalculia among Malaysian Year Five students by examining their written work.

This study will further detect the types of dyscalculia displayed through written mathematics work. The concept of dyscalculia is less well known than dyslexia. Dyscalculia is a condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills, learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures (Butterworth 2004).

Dyscalculia can involve difficulties with arithmetic, making sense of numbers, remembering numbers and formulae, estimating numbers, estimating distance and time. Therefore the presence of dyscalculia may affect mathematic performance among normal students. This learning difficulty in mathematics occurs among individuals across the whole IQ range.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 shows a decline of mathematics performance among Malaysian students in Year 2 or Grade 8 (Boyle 2009) . The findings show performance of Malaysian students in Mathematics and Sciences is lower at 474 points in 2007 compared to 508 in 2003 and 519 in TIMSS 1999 which is the highest drop among all participating 59 countries.

This research determines the different types of developmental dyscalculia common among the student. The study will address the procedures for identifying dyscalculia which may be the cause of lower performance in mathematics. Based on the current research of the characteristics of developmental dyscalculia, there have been studies in the fields of psychology as in neuroscience, behavioural psychology, cognitive sciences (Evans 2008), sociological examinations (Posner 2008) as well as within the context of the teaching and learning or neuroeducation  (Tokuhama-Espinosa 2008) . The research describes the procedures and conditions to distinguish the different types of developmental dyscalculia thus examine its implications for understanding the concept of mathematics learning difficulties. 

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Dr-ShadiyaDr. Shadiya Mohamed Saleh Baqutayan [su_spoiler title=”The Effectiveness Of Religious Orientation In Managing Anxiety Among Breast Cancers’ Patients”]

Abstract

This research is about anxiety among patients. It aims at investigating the effectiveness of religious orientation in managing anxiety among breast cancer patients. The sample consists of 120 hospital patients. The data are collected from The Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) Scale (Zigmond and Snaith 1983), and Intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientations (Allport-Ross scale 1967).

Frequency analysis will be used to examine level of anxiety, and religious coping mechanisms. The results of this research could help the patients to reduce their level of anxiety by recommending some  religious advices in making patients feel better toward their symptoms. 

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[su_spoiler title=”The effectiveness of coping mechanisms in managing studio stress among architecture students of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia International Campus”]

Abstract

This research is about anxiety among patients. It aims at investigating the effectiveness of religious orientation in managing anxiety among breast cancer patients. The sample consists of 120 hospital patients. The data are collected from The Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) Scale (Zigmond and Snaith 1983), and Intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientations (Allport-Ross scale 1967).

Frequency analysis will be used to examine level of anxiety, and religious coping mechanisms. The results of this research could help the patients to reduce their level of anxiety by recommending some  religious advices in making patients feel better toward their symptoms. 

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[su_spoiler title=”Transformation Pattern of UTM International Campus: Evaluation of Place Making (1990 – 2010)”]

Abstract

In the past, the campus physical transformation is haphazardly executed, due to the dynamics of political economy.  Moreover, architects and planners are challenge to reconcile shifting demands of high spatial density and architectural continuity of buildings with neighborhood. 

A case study of campus design is conducted to examine the applicability of Quality Function Deployment (QFD) in campus transformation pattern, including the advantages, the obstacles, and the unique condition of using QFD in urban design and architecture. The study yields several insights on the application of QFD in campus spatial design, which are applicable in other architectural design projects.

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[su_spoiler title=”Profile of Psycho-Spiritual Personality Characteristics Among The Muslim Teenagers”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Leadership Style of Women Policy-makers in The Education Industry.”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Integrating and Strengthening Human Value in Malaysia Development Policy.”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Fostering Innovation and Leadership Style Toward Achieving Higher Education Transformation Plan”][/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Infusion of Innovation in Vocational Education and Training”][/su_spoiler]

Dr-Abd-LatiffAssoc. Prof. Dr. Abdul Latiff Mohd Ibrahim [su_spoiler title=”The performance of students in University subjects at UTM’s franchise colleges – a study of their performance in the TITAS subject”]

Project Leader: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdul Latiff Mohd Ibrahim
Researcher: Hambali Abdul Rashid, Zaharah Mustapha & Nik Zaim Nik Abdul Rahim
Research Grant: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

Abstract
This study was undertaken to respond to the needs of the Department of Management and Services of the former College of Science and Technology, International Campus following what had been deemed as “disturbing” results for the University subjects and in particular, the TITAS subject conducted at the various UTM Franchise Colleges during the 2008-2009 year.

The results for the subject were found to be rather low with a reasonably high failure rate and as a result the overall performance was also affected negatively. Due to the complexity of issues surrounding what could have been the causes and to avoid premature conclusions over the handling of TITAS, this study was necessary to determine the contributing factors for the poor performance in the subject. It was also to obtain a clearer picture of the context in which university subjects are taught, evaluated and delivered. Besides it would also show whether the importance of university subjects has been fully appreciated in the teaching and learning process or otherwise.

Results
The main results seem to show that the general interest in TITAS is quite low. The results also show that the manner in which the subject is delivered is not according to the standards set and delivery problems affect the students’ interest in the subject.

The final report is being readied for November 2010

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[su_spoiler title=”An examination of students’ evaluation of teaching quality and staff in UTM International campus”]

Project Leader: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdul Latiff Mohd Ibrahim
Researcher:Syed Kamal Ariffin bin Syed Osman
Research Grant:Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (CTL)

Abstract
This study was carried out to investigate how students at UTM International campus carry out the evaluation of their teachers. Each semester the university compels its students to do an evaluation of the teaching quality by their teachers. A form is given out where students have to fill in some answers that are provided and these are then evaluated by the university to determine the teaching quality of the academic staff.

This study looks into the usefulness of such an evaluation from the perspective of the students’ understanding of the items contained in the questionnaire. It would show if the exercise actually shows the quality of teaching or otherwise. This issue would depend on how much the students’ understand each of the items contained in the questionnaire. If the student does nto understand a given item or wrongly understands it, then the findings would become suspect and may become invalid.

Results
Preliminary results show that there is a tendency for students’ to evaluate even if they do not fully understand every item in the questionnaire.

The final report is being readied for November 2010

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