Scholarly article on topic 'Evaluation of Graduates’ Performance Using Fuzzy Approach'

Evaluation of Graduates’ Performance Using Fuzzy Approach Academic research paper on "Civil engineering"

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Performance / graduates / employability skills / attributes / decision-making / Conjoint analysis

Abstract of research paper on Civil engineering, author of scientific article — Yuzainee Md Yusoff, Mohd Zaidi Omar, Azami Zaharim

Abstract This study offers an argument on the use of ordinal values in Likert scale that represents the linguistic terms of the level of satisfaction perceived by employers on the graduatesperformance. Generally, ordinal data are regarded as nonparametric and cannot be added. This paper recommends the use of fuzzy sets to represent linguistic terms in Likert scale. The evaluation of employers’ satisfaction level for the graduatesperformance applied the technique using fuzzy conjoint method. The investigation findings show that the analysis using fuzzy conjoint method yields consistent outcome compared to the analysis using the statistics mean and percentage. In addition, the fuzzy membership values obtained from fuzzy conjoint method ranks the attributes that used to measure employers’ satisfaction level. Therefore, this finding provides useful information for decision-making in finding the attributes that need to be enhanced in engineering graduates.

Academic research paper on topic "Evaluation of Graduates’ Performance Using Fuzzy Approach"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 102 (2013) 64 - 73 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

6th International Forum on Engineering Education (IFEE 2012)

Evaluation of Graduates' Performance using Fuzzy Approach

Yuzainee Md Yusoff a*, Mohd Zaidi Omar b, Azami Zaharim b

aCollege of Engineering, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Kajang, 43000, Malaysia bCentre for Engineering Education Research, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,43600 UKM Bangi Selangor, Malaysia

Abstract

This study offers an argument on the use of ordinal values in Likert scale that represents the linguistic terms of the level of satisfaction perceived by employers on the graduates' performance. Generally, ordinal data are regarded as nonparametric and cannot be added. This paper recommends the use of fuzzy sets to represent linguistic terms in Likert scale. The evaluation of employers' satisfaction level for the graduates' performance applied the technique using fuzzy conjoint method. The investigation findings show that the analysis using fuzzy conjoint method yields consistent outcome compared to the analysis using the statistics mean and percentage. In addition, the fuzzy membership values obtained from fuzzy conjoint method ranks the attributes that used to measure employers' satisfaction level. Therefore, this finding provides useful information for decision-making in finding the attributes that need to be enhanced in engineering graduates.

© 2013TheAuthors.Publishedby ElsevierLtd.

Selectionand/or peer-reviewunder responsibilityofProfessorDr Mohd. Zaidi Omar,AssociateProfessorDrRuhizan MohammadYasin, DrRoszilahHamid,DrNorngainyMohd.Tawil,Associate ProfessorDrWanKamal Mujani, Associate Professor Dr Effandi Zakaria.

Keywords: Performance; graduates; employability skills; attributes; decision-making; Conjoint analysis.

1. Introduction

Employability skills are very vital in today's job market. These skills also be termed varies across different continentals such as soft skills, transferable skills, basic skills, core skills, fundamental skills and few other terms. Skill shortage is one of the major constraints to the economy growth. Therefore, Malaysian government emphasises the need for graduates to show their own employability skills in order to compete successfully in today's highly competitive market place for graduate jobs. In job interview, having a good degree is no longer a

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +0-603-8928-7243 E-mail address: yuzainee@uniten.edu.my

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Professor Dr Mohd. Zaidi Omar, Associate Professor Dr Ruhizan Mohammad Yasin, Dr Roszilah Hamid, Dr Norngainy Mohd. Tawil, Associate Professor Dr Wan Kamal Mujani, Associate Professor Dr Effandi Zakaria. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.714

set you apart from other candidates. Additional to graduates' responsibility to secure their degree, they also have to be able to market themselves and stand out from the crowd to get the job that they want. The market and demand for employability skills is increasing in the Malaysia industries, where the performances of graduates become crucial in job interview. This is forcing university to ensure that their graduates can compete successfully in the graduate job market.

Graduates' performance is an important aspect to determine the achievement of engineering program of a university. The graduates' performance represents the performance of the education providers. The outcome of a study on graduates' performance could be useful in providing information for the quality improvement in teaching-learning process. In the literature, there are a large number of studies realised by different method to measure performance of graduates. Daniel [1] used 5-Likert Scale to carry out the performances analysis of employer and new graduate satisfaction. Daniel conducted a measurement on the employer's satisfaction with the overall performance of the new graduate in the workplace within the first year following convocation and analyzed it using statistical mean and percentage. Rasmani [2] evaluated student performance based on Criterion-Referenced Evaluation (CRE) and Norm-Referenced Evaluation (NRE). Berkow [3] carried out a study to measure the performances of new graduate nurses using percentage of efficiency. Basri [4] conducted a study to compare the performance of engineering graduates of year 2006 and 2010 using percentage of employers' agreement on toward graduates' performance.

This study will focus on the attributes that should be performed efficiently by graduates. The instrument used for evaluation of graduates' skills performance consists of a number of attributes that are very subjective depending on employers' perception. For each attribute, the respondents of the survey need to give their answer in the form of preferences such as 'satisfied' and 'unsatisfied'. A Likert scale that employs ordinal values to represent linguistics terms frequently used in the studies on level of satisfaction of performance. The collected responses were analysed using fuzzy set theory approach. The use of fuzzy approach in performance evaluation is becoming popular [5]. Therefore this study present an argument on the use of ordinal values in Likert scale that represents the linguistic terms of the level of satisfaction of employers on the graduates' performance.

2. Methodology

Questionnaires were collected from four hundred and seventy three (473) employers at various engineering industry in the Kelang Valley area of Malaysia and area closed by. There are thirteen (13) skills listed adopted from "The Future of Engineering Education In Malaysia, 2006" [6]. The employability skills comprise of ability to acquire and apply knowledge of engineering fundamentals (A1), having the competency in theoretical and research engineering (A2), having competency in engineering application and orientation (A3), ability to communicate effectively, not only with engineers but also with the community at large (A4), having in-depth technical competence in a specific engineering discipline (A5), ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution (A6), ability to utilise a systems approach to design and evaluate operational performance (A7), ability to function effectively as an individual and in a group with the capacity to be a leader or manager as well as an effective team member (A8), having social awareness, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and ethics of a professional engineer and the need for sustainable development (A9), recognising the need to undertake lifelong learning, and possessing/acquiring the capacity to do so (A10), ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyse and interpret data (A11), having the knowledge of contemporary issues (A12), having basic entrepreneurial skills (A13). The survey sought to study the satisfactory of employers toward engineering graduates in their work place. The employers were asked to indicate their satisfactory on knowledge, skills and experience owned by engineering graduates in their work place. Each item was measured using a five-point Likert scale representing different levels of satisfactory. Finally, the collated data was analysed using statistical means, percentage and fuzzy conjoint analysis.

2.1. Fuzzy Set Conjoint Model and Linguistic Variable

This section elucidates the theory of fuzzy sets relating to satisfaction on performance and the fuzzy conjoint analysis method. In classical set theory, a set is defined as a collection of well-defined elements or objects. Each element can either belongs or does not belong to the set. Conversely, in real world problems this is not always true as some sets may not have clear boundaries [7]. The linguistic terms used for measurements of preferences or agreements such as Likert scale or Likert-type scale have been used by researchers especially on subjective questions. Commonly, the discrete-ordinal value used to represent linguistic term in Likert scale. The collected responses were analysed to determine statistical mean, percentage, correlation and statistical tests. However, the use of mean value obtained from Likert scale does not imply to linguistics terms because the ordinal value assign to the linguistic term is just for coding. The discrete-ordinal value is discrete data that may be arranged ascending or descending order but differences between values are meaningless. The interval between values such as '3.45' is not interpreted since it cannot be determined in an ordinal measure. The use of discrete values in Likert scale is also inappropriate because the linguistic terms such as 'satisfied' and 'unsatisfied' are measured as degrees of preferences which in nature are fuzzy terms.

In general, performance evaluation is conducted based on human interpretations which are very subjective and uncertainty. The fuzzy sets and fuzzy membership values have been proven can be used to generate model for evaluations process [5,8]. In fuzzy set theory, the Likert scale used to represent the linguistic terms in different way. The linguistic terms are perceived in ascending or descending order and thus can be replaced with fuzzy sets representing level of agreement or preference. The value of an element in fuzzy set is defined in terms of degrees in an interval between 0 and 1. A value approaching 1 means is becoming true and a value approaching 0 means is closer to not true. The linguistic variable is a variable whose values are not numbers but are in linguistic words in a natural language. In this study, the linguistic variables are represented by "very satisfied", "satisfied", "quite satisfied", "less satisfied", "unsatisfied" rather than quantitative variables. Figure 1 illustrates an example of fuzzy sets for level of satisfaction.

Unsatisfied

Satisfaction

Fig. 1. Fuzzy set represents level of satisfaction

The variable of linguistic for domain element is "Satisfaction". The crisp weight is a rating of attribute's satisfaction using rating Likert scaled ranged from 1: "Unsatisfied" to 5: "Very Satisfied" as shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Membership for Likert-Scale of Linguistic Variable Represent Level of Satisfaction

Level of Satisfaction

Fuzzy Linguistic Value

Scale Level of Satisfaction Fuzzy Linguistic Value

1 Unsatisfied {^,0.75/2,°.5/3,0/4,0/5}

2 Less Satisfied /0.5 / 1 / 0.7 5 / 0.2 5 / 0 /1. 1 /1 , /? , /3 , /4 /5 1

3 Quite Satisfied /0/ 0.5/ 1/ 0.5/ 0/1. 1/1 , /2 /3 , /4 , /5 J

4 Satisfied /0/ 0.2^/ 0.7^/ 1/ 0 .5 /J \A , /2 , /3 ^4 , /5 J

5 Very Satisfied /0/ 0/ 0.5/ 0.7^/ 1/J \A ^ /2 , /3 , /4 ^ /5 J

Source : Yuhanim 2011

Note : 0.7 V means 0.75 at 3 /3

This evaluation made by employers on the performance of engineering graduates was analysed using set conjoint model adapted from [9,10]. The performance was based on 13 skills listed in MOHE [6]. The Fuzzy Conjoint Model is developed by integrating fuzzy measurement of evaluations into the vector preference model [11]. The model adapted from Turksen is:

^ ^ Wi Mr ( yj, A ) = l n Mb, ( Xj, A )

i=1 X Wk k = 1

where,

Wi = a crisp attribute "satisfaction" weights (1- 5) for i-th respondent; A = skills performed by graduate (13 skills); T = the number of linguistic label/term (/=1, 2, ...,T); n = number of respondents (k=1, 2, .. .,n);

MB (xj, A) = the degree of membership for respondent i for item A according to linguistic label xi = 1, 2, . . . , T;

MR (yj, A) = the estimated overall membership degree of linguistic value for R towards skill A.

W-i— = Score of linguistic values for respondent i with respect to other respondents;

The result of performance of graduate as perceived by employer obtained is compared to outcomes of analysis using statistical method. The analysis result shown in Table 2 demonstrated the comparison of level of satisfaction obtained based on three methods; mean, percentage and fuzzy conjoint model.

2.2. Degree of Similarity

The membership value degree calculated above, represents the fuzzy set of response given by respondents is then compared to fuzzy set [10]. This can be conducted using fuzzy similarity measure based on Euclidean distance of two fuzzy sets [9]. In some results, there is fuzzy similarity degree between two fuzzy set. There are few formulas to determine the fuzzy similarity degree between two fuzzy sets. This study will make use of the

formula of dot product based on Euclidean Inner Product formulated by [10]. The fuzzy similarity degree between fuzzy set R and M is defined by:

S (R, M ) = • R • M

max( R • R, M • M ) where,

R = (Mr (xl), MR (x2),...), M = (M M (xi), MM (x2),...) R, M are vectors.

X = ( xl, x 2 , . . . )

The analysis process begins with:

1) Obtained the level of satisfaction for all respondents on graduate's performance based on five linguistic values.

2) Defined the five scales measured for satisfaction into fuzzy set.

3) Obtained the weights by dividing the measurement of respondent with sum of measurement of all respondent.

4) Obtained membership degree of every respondent by multiplying the weight and every fuzzy set membership value accordingly.

5) Obtained the overall membership degree by total up the membership degree of every linguistic respect to linguistic value.

6) Determine the overall linguistic value by obtained the fuzzy set similarity degree for overall measurement with five fuzzy set value defined. The result of this analysis is determined based on the maximum similarity degree.

(Adapted from Biswas, 1995)

By using this method similarity values for each level of satisfaction is determined. The outcome of this analysis is determined based on the maximum similarity value among the level of satisfaction. For example, there may be a few level of satisfaction which is similar, such as "satisfaction" but with the different linguistic value. The hierarchy of the skills can be established by comparing the fuzzy set similarity value for each skill performed. The results are shown in Table 3.

3. Result and discussion

The overall results presented in Table 2 show that employers satisfied with the performance of engineering graduates. The outcomes show that the results produced by fuzzy conjoint method are consistent with the result analysed by percentage and mean except for a few skills. Using fuzzy conjoint method, employers satisfied with the performance on all listed skills except A13. Meanwhile, the results of analysis using mean show that the employers satisfied on all skills except A7, A11, A12 and A13. However, analysis using percentage shows, percent of employers satisfied on the graduates' performance is on A3, A4, A5 and A6.

Even though there are different level of satisfaction obtained by fuzzy conjoint method and the result from percentage and mean, the differences are not significant. It is observed from Table 2, that the analysis on "ability to acquire and apply knowledge of engineering fundamentals (A1), having the competency in theoretical and research engineering (A2), ability to function effectively as an individual and in a group with the capacity to be a leader or manager as well as an effective team member (A8), having social awareness, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and ethics of a professional engineer and the need for sustainable development (A9), and recognising the need to undertake lifelong learning, and possessing/acquiring the capacity to do so (A10)" using fuzzy conjoint method and mean show the level of satisfaction as "satisfied", but the result from percentage shows "quite satisfied" performance. The analysis on "having competency in engineering application

and orientation (A3), ability to communicate effectively, not only with engineers but also with the community at large (A4), having in-depth technical competence in a specific engineering discipline (A5) and ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution (A6)" using fuzzy conjoint method are consistent with the level of satisfaction based on analysis using the percentage and mean. All three methods show result as "satisfied". However, the analysis using fuzzy conjoint method created different level of satisfaction that is "satisfied" but the analysis result using percentage and mean is "quite satisfied" on "ability to utilise a systems approach to design and evaluate operational performance (A7), ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyse and interpret data (A11), and having the knowledge of contemporary issues (A12)". The last skill "having basic entrepreneurial skills (A13)" obtained similar result that is "quite satisfied" performance from all three methods. From these observations, it can be concluded that fuzzy conjoint method generally produces consistent results with the analysis using the percentage and statistical mean.

Table 2 Comparison of level of satisfaction on skills performed by engineering graduates

Skills Methods Unsatisfi ed Less Satisfied Quite Satisfie d Satisfie d Very Satisfie d Level of Satisfact ion

Ability to acquire and apply knowledge of engineering fundamentals. Mean 3.61 Satisfied

A1 Percent 0.21 1.90 48.20 35.94 13.74 Quite satisfied

Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1151 0.2581 0.5863 0.7417 0.2320 Satisfied

Having the competency in theoretical and research engineering. Mean 3.58 Satisfied

A2 Percent 0.63 4.23 42.49 41.86 10.78 Quite satisfied

Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1203 0.2585 0.5727 0.7615 0.2387 Satisfied

Having competency in engineering application and orientation. Mean 3.69 Satisfied

A3 Percent 0.2114 3.5941 36.997 9 45.243 1 13.953 5 Satisfied

Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1023 0.2288 0.5269 0.8315 0.2620 Satisfied

Ability to communicate effectively, not only with engineers but also with the community at large Mean 3.76 Satisfied

A4 Percent 0.21 1.69 33.19 51.59 13.32 Satisfied

Fuzzy Conjoint 0.0860 0.2071 0.5080 0.8635 0.2734 Satisfied

Having in-depth technical competence in a specific engineering discipline. Mean 3.75 Satisfied

A5 Percent 0.00 3.38 34.04 46.51 16.07 Satisfied

Fuzzy Conjoint 0.0939 0.2142 0.5028 0.8722 0.2755 Satisfied

Ability to undertake Mean 3.66 Satisfied

A6 problem identification, formulation and Percent 0.00 2.75 41.01 43.76 12.47 Satisfied

Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1057 0.2393 0.5534 0.7908 0.2486 Satisfied

Skills Methods Unsatisfi ed Less Satisfied Quite Satisfie Satisfie d Very Satisfie Level of Satisfact

d d ion

solution.

Ability to utilise a systems approach to design and evaluate operational performance. Mean 3.49 Quite satisfied

A7 Percent 0.85 Quite satisfied 43.13 36.36 11.21 Quite satisfied

Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1451 0.2848 0.5784 0.7467 0.2330 Satisfied

Ability to function effectively as an individual and in a group with the capacity to be a leader or manager as well as an effective team member. Mean 3.63 Satisfied

Percent 0.00 2.33 46.09 38.27 13.32 Quite satisfied

A8 Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1127 0.2531 0.5768 0.7555 0.2367 Satisfied

Having social awareness, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and ethics of a professional engineer and the need for sustainable development. Mean 3.54 Satisfied

Percent 0.42 5.29 45.45 37.21 11.63 Quite satisfied

A9 Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1302 0.2721 0.5850 0.7418 0.2318 Satisfied

Recognising the need Mean 3.51 Satisfied

A10 to undertake lifelong learning, and Percent 0.42 6.13 46.72 35.52 11.21 Quite satisfied

possessing/acquiring the capacity to do so. Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1378 0.2824 0.5952 0.7266 0.2267 Satisfied

Ability to design and Mean 3.44 Quite satisfied

A11 conduct experiments, as well as to analyse Percent 1.06 9.73 44.61 32.98 11.63 Quite satisfied

and interpret data. Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1562 0.2981 0.5869 0.7310 0.2275 Satisfied

Having the knowledge of contemporary issues. Mean 3.39 Quite satisfied

A12 Percent 0.63 8.25 52.22 28.96 9.94 Quite satisfied

Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1638 0.3195 0.6370 0.6688 0.2074 Satisfied

A13 Having basic entrepreneurial skills. Mean 3.35 Quite satisfied

Skills Methods Unsatisfi ed Less Satisfied Quite Satisfie d Satisfie d Very Satisfie d Level of Satisfact ion

Percent 2.11 5.92 55.39 27.91 8.67 Quite satisfied

Fuzzy Conjoint 0.1639 0.3255 0.6609 0.6439 0.1995 Quite satisfied

Table 3 shows the hierarchy of the satisfaction level as perceived by employers which analysed by Fuzzy Conjoint Turksen Model [12]. The results show that the first three skills satisfied by employers are "having in-depth technical competence in a specific engineering discipline (A5), ability to communicate effectively, not only with engineers but also with the community at large (A4), and having competency in engineering application and orientation (A3)". These three skills obtained linguistic value more than 0.8 showing that employers' satisfaction on these skills are closed to very satisfied or perfect satisfaction. The only skill having assessment as "quite satisfied" is "having basic entrepreneurial skills (A13)". The linguistic value for this skill is 0.6605 for quite satisfied showing that employers' satisfaction level is closer to satisfied rather than to less satisfy. The other nine skills are perceived as satisfied with lesser linguistic value compared to the first three skills. Employers perceived that the skills performed by graduates have met their expectation.

Table 3 Hierarchy of the satisfaction level as perceived by employers on graduates' performance.

T- ... Level of

Skills ,,g, satisfaction Rank

Value ,T. . .. , _(Linguistic)_

A5 Having in-depth technical competence in a specific 0.8722 Satisfied 1

engineering discipline.

A4 Ability to communicate effectively, not only with 0.8635 Satisfied 2

engineers but also with the community at large

A3 Having competency in engineering application and 0.8315 Satisfied 3

orientation.

A6 Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation 0.7908 Satisfied 4

and solution.

A2 Having the competency in theoretical and research 0.7615 Satisfied 5

engineering.

A8 Ability to function effectively as an individual and in a 0.7555 Satisfied 6

group with the capacity to be a leader or manager as well as an effective team member.

A7 Ability to utilise a systems approach to design and 0.7467 Satisfied 7

evaluate operational performance.

A9 Having social awareness, cultural, global and 0.7418 Satisfied 8

environmental responsibilities and ethics of a professional engineer and the need for sustainable development.

A1 Ability to acquire and apply knowledge of engineering 0.7417 Satisfied 9

fundamentals.

Skills Linguistic Value Level of satisfaction (Linguistic) Rank

A11 Ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyse and interpret data. 0.7310 Satisfied 10

A10 Recognising the need to undertake lifelong learning, and possessing/acquiring the capacity to do so. 0.7266 Satisfied 11

A12 Having the knowledge of contemporary issues. 0.6688 Satisfied 12

A13 Having basic entrepreneurial skills. 0.6609 Quite Satisfied 13

4. Conclusion

This paper has presented an application of fuzzy approach in evaluation of graduate's performance. The results from the fuzzy conjoint method are shown in this study is consistent with the results obtained from analysis based on percentage and statistical mean. Therefore, the fuzzy conjoint method can be used as an alternative method for analysing graduate's performance. The approach employed in fuzzy conjoint method could be very useful in term of the methods to be used for evaluation of performance satisfaction in real-world. It has been shown that the evaluation of graduate's performance can be carried out using fuzzy conjoint method. The linguistic value in fuzzy conjoint method can be used as indicator presenting the degree of satisfaction for each skill performed by graduate.

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the Centre for Engineering Education Research, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, for sharing with us the data of employers' perception on graduates' performance collected September 2009 to January 2010 and June 2010 to December 2010.

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