MSSC Assessment Preparation Instructor: E. Carlson Instructor’s Guide Introduction and Goals Students should be introduced to the four segments of the assessment and be encouraged to determine which focuses are their strengths and weaknesses. Students should take note of this to concentrate more on the segments that they need more work in. Students could introduce themselves and present to the class which area is their strength so that other students may utilize their experience to build their own knowledge. The goal of the course is successful completion of the MSSC assessment and certification. To this end, it is suggested that grading for the course be tied to the scores and successful passing of the MSSC assessment. Course Outline A course outline is presented with approximate time spent on each section of material. An introduction is planned with an explanation of the current manufacturing environment, the need for MSSC efforts, and how the MSSC standards were developed. In addition to the focuses on safety, quality, manufacturing and maintenance, an emphasis is placed on test taking tips and strategies. It is noted that many current students lack good test taking skills to properly represent their knowledge in a testing environment. I have rearranged the order of the main topics safety, quality, manufacturing and maintenance as the text presents them. I believe that starting with a focus on safety and productivity might be best due to the topics personal nature and the potential for students and incumbent workers to relate to personal experience. Quality topics follow, and then specific and technical details can be applied to the manufacturing and maintenance practices. Practice testing is planned after each section to make this process familiar. The course is completed with assessment scheduling, test taking strategies, and suggestions for continued learning and career progression. Note Taking Students should be encouraged to take notes during class and even on the job to absorb as much as possible for assessment preparation. Students should record definitions and acronyms that are unfamiliar. Note taking requires little effort and greatly reinforces the learning process. Students should know that it is there responsibility to create references for themselves and note taking accomplishes this. Use of the Text “High Performance Manufacturing” The text is the best single source of information for material covered in the MSSC assessments and its use should be maximized. Reading and homework assignments should be assigned from the text to utilize the many suggested activities and sample test questions presented in it. Students should be made clear that the standards and knowledge represented by the MSSC assessment is much larger in scope than just the text, and reading it with comprehension is a minimum. Additional Homework Assignments Homework assignments are recommended. Part of the challenge of absorbing the material presented in this course is that the relevant information comes from many sources, especially from career jobs. Learning is not limited to the classroom, and some of the best information is learned on the job. The goal is to steer students to open themselves to learning, teach them to learn, not just feed them information. Topics as broad as those addressed by the MSSC standards are not easily learned in a classroom environment alone. Assignments can be of a format different than that of multiple choice test questions. The goal is to engage students and make the material relevant to them and their lives. Writing composition assignments and problem solving will help students develop a proactive approach to learning. Students should be encouraged to incorporate their personal on the job experiences and extrapolate from them how they relate to the topics of safety, quality, manufacturing and maintenance. Depending on the quality of the work of the homework assignments, student could be assigned to read or grade each others work in an effort to pool their knowledge. Another assignment for students could be to create their own practice questions. This would strengthen their grasp of the technical material and improve their fluency in the format of the assessment questions. This improves question comprehension and points out question tricks and pitfalls by approaching the process from the reverse direction. These questions could be pooled together to build a large collection of practice questions. Class Participation Class format should contain a technical information lecture followed by opportunities for discussion. This discussion is important for the digestion of the information and to provide students a chance to relate it to their lives personally. This way they may pool their knowledge and spread it, helping each other with the material. The instructor’s responsibility should be to direct the discussion in positive directions. When negative experiences are shared, the question could be to use an improvement technique or root cause analysis to find the underlying problem and learn from it. It should be made clear to students that this is not an opportunity to simply vent but they too are responsible for problem solving. Course Grading Course grading could easily be based on homework assignments, attendance and practice test performance, but it is recommended to tie in actual MSSC assessment exposure to provide the additional nudge to students to complete the process. This probably cannot be made a requirement though, due to the assessment being offered for a fee independently of the course. More research is needed for this. Test Preparation One of the best methods of improving test performance is to practice taking tests. This reduces test-taking anxiety and familiarizes the student with the testing format and types of questions. The MSSC assessment format should be made clear to student. It is highly recommended that any instructor of a MSSC Assessment preparation course should have the experience of taking all of the assessments. A PowerPoint presentation on test-taking strategies has been prepared to guide students in accurately representing their knowledge of the material in the assessment.