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A Curricular Review Process For Systematic Continuous Improvement

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.25.1 - 6.25.17

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Paper Authors

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Warren Phillips

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Joseph Clair Batty

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John Gershenson

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Christine Hailey

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

Session 2566

A Curricular Review Process for Systematic Continuous Improvement

John K. Gershenson1, Christine E. Hailey2, J. Clair Batty2, Warren F. Phillips2 1 Michigan Technological University / 2Utah State University


This paper describes a novel process for curriculum planning, assessment, and improvement. The process is quantitative but allows faculty freedom to innovate. The review process is sufficiently flexible that it can be applied to many engineering programs. The curricular review process is split into cycles corresponding to the various programmatic levels, i.e., validating courses, assessing outcomes, appraising attributes, and evaluating objectives, each with its own review cycle period. The review process provides a formal way of closing the feedback loops at all programmatic levels from the course level to the objective level. The review results are easily documented and can be used to ensure continuous improvement. Results are tabulated in three systems of matrices. Importance matrices are used to show the relative importance of goals at each programmatic level. Measurement matrices document the level of performance at each programmatic level relative to a set of benchmarks. Correlation matrices are used to correlate the goals from one programmatic level to the next. While other assessment methods may use something similar to our measurement matrices, the use of correlation matrices is unique to this curricular review process. The correlation matrices are used to see if the goals of each level are correct. The matrices are used in the corrective action process to adjust the relative importance of goals and to insert or delete possible new goals. Examples of implementation of the curricular review process are provided.

I. Introduction

Recently we conducted a survey of published literature in engineering education and found much has been written on ABET EC-2000. Several authors have noted the similarities of the EC-2000 criteria and ISO 9001.1-3 Aldridge and Benefield provide a general roadmap to assist programs in implementing the ABET 2000 criteria in order to prepare for future ABET reviews.4, 5 A number of authors describe a particular institution’s preparation and experiences with the ABET 2000 review process. For example, Lohman describes Georgia Tech’s experiences, as a pilot program, with the ABET review process, and provides suggestions for those preparing for a site visit.6 Similarly, Phillips7 presents lessons learned from the ABET review of Harvey Mudd College and Rudko8 provides a similar report on the review of Union College. McGourty, et al. provide an overview of NJIT’s assessment program and preliminary results from four assessment processes.9 Much as been written highlighting specific assessment tools and assessment processes that demonstrate educational outcomes are being achieved. Numerous authors, including Rogers and Williams,10 Mourtos,11 Olds,12 and Morgan, et al.13 provide insight into the use of portfolios as effective assessment tools. Terenzini, et al. report on a course-level

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Phillips, W., & Batty, J. C., & Gershenson, J., & Hailey, C. (2001, June), A Curricular Review Process For Systematic Continuous Improvement Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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