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A Mastery-based Learning Model for an Upper-level Vibration Analysis Course

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: Dynamics II - Feel the Vibe

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Kurt M. DeGoede Elizabethtown College

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Professor of Engineering and Physics, Elizabethtown College. His research interests in biomechanics include developing clinical instruments for rehabilitation. Dr. DeGoede teaches upper-level undergraduate mechanical engineering and design courses and first-year foundations of engineering courses. He is also developing a collaborative study abroad program in West Africa.

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A Mastery-Based-Learning (MBL) approach built upon a large number of tiered specific skills guarantees all students earning a particular grade in a course have demonstrated mastery of critical skills. Using this approach can make it difficult to manage classroom sessions. Some courses may require a more structured approach to the topics. Presented here is an MBL structure for a vibration analysis course with 4 areas of study. In each unit, an exam consists of two parts: Proficiency and Mastery.

Final grades were determined by the number of units in which students demonstrated proficiency: +1/3 Letter grade for each unit where students demonstrated 90% or higher-level work on the Proficiency section of the exam. Students also earned higher grades by showing good or excellent competency in the Mastery problems on exams and by completing 4 laboratory-style projects. To earn a grade of C-, students had to demonstrate A-level work on the proficiency level problems.

Parallel data were available for the first 3 of 4 units. Traditional exam grading (2018) was compared to the described MBL system in 2019. In 2018, exams featured core proficiency problems (one or two) along with problems that stretched students to demonstrate a higher-order understanding of the material. Students had the opportunity to take an optional post-exam quiz retesting them on the core principles with the grade averaged with the original exam grade. Only 47% of the students scoring less than 90% on the core principles problems took advantage of this opportunity. In the end, 53% of the students demonstrated 90%+ competency on the proficiency level analyses for all three units.

In 2019, Students scored much higher on the original proficiency problems on the typical exam: 85% of the students scored 90% or higher on these problems, compared to 25-45% of the students scoring this high on the 2018 exams. The 2019 students also took retake assessments on skills they did not demonstrate competency on at twice the rate of the 2018 students. At the end of the semester, 95% of the students had demonstrated competency on the proficiency level analyses for all three units.

Success on the Mastery level problems did not change significantly from 2018 to 2019. Final course grades were similar between the two populations.

DeGoede, K. M. (2020, June), A Mastery-based Learning Model for an Upper-level Vibration Analysis Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34014

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