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A Comparison Between Frequent Out Of Class Assignments And Frequent In Class Assessments Relative To Student Performance In A Sophomore Level Electrical Circuit Analysis Course

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

ECET Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.25.1 - 11.25.9



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Paper Authors

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Isaac Flory Old Dominion University


Christian Hearn Old Dominion University

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Christian Hearn is an instructor of Engineering Technology at Old Dominion University, and teaches courses in electronics, electromagnetics, and communications. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech before working for the Naval Surface Warfare Center-UERD. He completed a B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology while employed and went on to complete a M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He is currently conducting research for Nanosonic, Inc (Blacksburg, VA) under the supervision of his PhD advisor, Dr. Richard Claus.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



Two parallel sections of a sophomore level circuit analysis course in Electrical Engineering Technology were structured to provide insight to the marginal utility of out-of-class assignments versus in-class assessments in academic performance. Student distributions for each section, the classroom model, the composition of the common tests and exam, and grading formats are discussed. The data presented and the conditions of the resulting observations indicate the model which favored out-of-class assignments led to improved test scores.


Introductory courses taught in undergraduate engineering curriculums generally use combinations of out-of-class assignments (homework) and in-class assessments (unannounced or announced quizzes, tests and final exam) to evaluate student performance.

Modern educational tools often employed include mandatory classroom attendance and group exercises for freshman and sophomore level undergraduate courses. A fundamental difference between university and pre-university (high school) classroom is that attendance has not always been considered mandatory at the university level. The authors of this paper believe the traditional ‘optional’ attendance policy shifts responsibility to the university student and is a vital objective of a college education.

The faculty within the department also believes the success of a student in a technical profession is predicated upon mastering fundamental concepts and analytical methods taught at the introductory level. As a result, it has been agreed that student performance in introductory courses should be based on individual assessments. Group exercises and team learning environments are integrated in the EET curriculum at the senior level to assist in the successful transition of the student into his or her profession.

The faculty within the department has traditionally used a weighted average comprised of graded homework assignments, quizzes, tests, and a final exam to determine an overall grade. The effect of graded versus non-graded homework in an introductory undergraduate engineering course has been investigated [1], and previous research has illustrated the effectiveness of homework assignments for pre-university academic levels.[2,3] Observations regarding the marginal effectiveness of graded homework assignments versus in-class quizzes in overall student performance, although informally discussed between members of faculty, are not readily available.

An opportunity to investigate the two reinforcement techniques afforded itself at the beginning of the fall semester, 2005. Increased student enrollment combined with classroom size

Flory, I., & Hearn, C. (2006, June), A Comparison Between Frequent Out Of Class Assignments And Frequent In Class Assessments Relative To Student Performance In A Sophomore Level Electrical Circuit Analysis Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--836

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