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Context, competency and authenticity in STEM education.

McDermott, Roger; Daniels, Mats


Mats Daniels


This Research Full Paper presents work which links a consideration of the concept of context with that of learning competency and that of educational authenticity in STEM subjects. The word 'context' is very familiar in both everyday language and in educational settings. However, because of its ubiquity, it is often taken for granted that both educators and students know what it means, and how it is being used. This paper reviews the concept of context, using the typology developed by Dohn et al. We draw attention to the way in which this can be applied to the notion of competence, specifically, the competence framework developed by Frezza et al, and consider how the concept underlies the idea of authentic learning. We argue that a clear understanding of authenticity depends critically on both students and academics being able to discriminate between the different types of contexts that occur in authentic assessment processes, such as projects based on real-world scenarios. We also consider contextual categories when describing the different ways in which learning can be transferred.


MCDERMOTT, R. and DANIELS, M. 2021. Context, competency and authenticity in STEM education. In Proceedings of 2021 IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Frontiers in education conference (FIE 2021), 13-16 October 2021, Lincoln, USA [virtual conference]. Piscataway: IEEE [online], article 9637197. Available from:

Conference Name 2021 IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Frontiers in education conference (FIE 2021)
Conference Location Lincoln, USA [virtual conference]
Start Date Oct 13, 2021
End Date Oct 16, 2021
Acceptance Date Jul 19, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 20, 2021
Publication Date Dec 31, 2021
Deposit Date Feb 10, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2022
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Series ISSN 2377-634X
ISBN 9781665438520
Keywords Context; Competency; Authenticity; Judgement
Public URL


MCDERMOTT 2021 Context competency (AAM) (542 Kb)

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