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A Direct Method for Teaching and Measuring Engineering Professional Skills: A Validity Study for the National Science Foundation’s Research in Evaluation of Engineering and Science Education (REESE)

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Collection

2013 ASEE International Forum

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 22, 2013

Start Date

June 22, 2013

End Date

June 22, 2013

Conference Session

Track 4 - Session II - Student and Curriculum Development II

Tagged Topic

Student and Curriculum Development

Page Count

18

Page Numbers

21.2.1 - 21.2.18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17207

Download Count

65

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Paper Authors

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Ashley Ater Kranov ABET, Inc.

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Ashley Ater Kranov, Ph.D., is ABET's Managing Director of Professional Services. Her department is responsible for partnering with faculty and industry to conduct robust technical education research and providing educational opportunities on sustainable assessment processes for program continual improvement worldwide.

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Rochelle Letrice Williams ABET

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Rochelle Williams joined the ABET headquarters staff as Educational Research and Assessment
Manager in the Professional Services Department. In this role,Williams manages ABET’s educational offerings
on a global scale and leads technical education research projects. Prior to joining ABET,Williams
held two positions at Baton Rouge Community College: Science Laboratory Manager and Adjunct Faculty
in the Mathematics Department. In addition, Williams works closely with the National Science
Foundation’s Next Generation Composites Crest Center at Southern University. In this role, she
supports the center’s mission to increase the awareness of engineering education to underrepresented
minority groups on both the secondary and post-secondary levels. Williams holds a Ph.D. in Science and
Mathematics Education and a Master’s of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Southern University
and A&M College in Baton Rouge, La., and a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics from Spelman College in
Atlanta, Ga.

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Patrick D. Pedrow P.E. Washington State University

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Patrick D. Pedrow received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Idaho, Moscow, in 1975, the Master of Engineering degree in electric power engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, in 1976, the M.S. degree in physics from Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, in 1981, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, in 1985. From 1976 to 1981, he was with McGraw-Edison Company, where he conducted research and development on electric power circuit breakers. He is currently an Associate Professor with Washington State University in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research interests are in plasma-assisted materials processing, including the deposition and evaluation of thin plasma-polymerized films fabricated at atmospheric pressure using weakly ionized plasma. Dr. Pedrow is a member of the American Physical Society, IEEE, ASEE, Tau Beta Pi and he is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Wisconsin.

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Edwin R. Schmeckpeper Norwich University

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Edwin Schmeckpeper, P.E. Ph.D., is the chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Norwich University. Norwich University was the first private school in the United States to offer engineering courses. In addition, Senator Justin Morrill used Norwich University as the model for the Land-Grant colleges created by the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Act. Prior to joining the faculty at Norwich University, Dr. Schmeckpeper taught at the University of Idaho, the Land-Grant College for the State of Idaho, and worked as an engineer in design offices and at construction sites.

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Steven W. Beyerlein University of Idaho, Moscow

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Dr. Beyerlein is a professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho where he has been employed since 1987. For the last ten years he has coordinated an inter-disciplinary capstone design program that involves faculty and graduate student mentors from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, biological & agricultural engineering, and computer science. This two semester design experience with external clients from across the region is the locus of numerous professional skill assessments that have been part of larger national research efforts, such as the one described in this paper. Dr. Beyerlein also plays an active role in a variety of vehicle design and engine testing projects within the National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) at the University of Idaho.

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Jay Patrick McCormack Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Abstract

A Direct Method for Teaching and Measuring Engineering Professional Skills: A Validity Study for the National Science Foundation’s Research in Evaluation of Engineering and Science Education (REESE)TRACK: Student DevelopmentIntroductionThis paper describes an ongoing research project in establishing the validity of a direct methodfor teaching and measuring undergraduate engineering students’ professional skills. Proficiencyin engineering professional skills (Table 1) is critical for success in the multidisciplinary,intercultural team interactions that characterize global 21st century engineering careers. Yet,programs across the nation have struggled to define, teach and measure professional skills sincetheir introduction as ABET criteria for engineering programs in 2000. In fall 2006, the XXXUniversity College of Engineering developed an innovative, direct method to teach and measurethe ABET professional skills simultaneously. The Engineering Professional Skills Assessment(EPSA) is the only direct method for teaching and measuring these skills simultaneously in theliterature. Table 1.ABET Criterion 3 Professional Skills Student Learning Outcomes 3d Ability to Function on Multidisciplinary Teams 3f Understanding of Professional and Ethical Responsibility 3g Ability to Communicate Effectively 3h Understanding of the Impact of Engineering Solutions in Global, Economic, Environmental, and Cultural/Societal Contexts 3i Recognition of and Ability to Engage in Life-Long Learning 3j Knowledge of Contemporary IssuesThe major accomplishments of the six years of on-going research conducted college wide sincespring 2007 using the EPSA method at the program level for evaluating the efficacy of theundergraduate engineering curriculum are: (1) an authentic performance task in the form of ascenario and prompts to elicit the ABET professional skills; (2) establishment of initial reliabilityand validity of the measurement instrument – the Engineering Professional Skills Rubric; and (3)a dedicated community of 40+ engineering faculty using direct assessment to evaluate theefficacy of their own programs, and to plan and implement improvement at both course andprogram levels. We are now in year 3 of a 3 year validity study of the method and tool acrossthree universities.The EPSA method is a discussion-based performance task designed to elicit students’ knowledgeand application of the ABET professional skills. In a 45-minute session, small groups of studentsare presented with a complex, real-world scenario that includes multi-faceted, multidisciplinaryengineering issues. They are then asked to determine the most important problem/s and todiscuss stakeholders, impacts, unknowns, and possible solutions. The EPS Rubric, an analyticrubric, was developed to measure the extent to which student performance in response to a givenscenario achieved the six learning outcomes associated with the ABET professional skills. Thismethod is flexible, easy to implement, and can be used at the course level for teaching andmeasuring engineering professional skills and the program level at the end of a curricularsequence for evaluating a program’s efficacy.

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