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A Review Of Literature On Assessment Practices In Capstone Engineering Design Courses: Implications For Formative Assessment

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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

Assessing Design Coursework

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.112.1 - 11.112.14



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Paper Authors


Michael Trevisan Washington State University

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Dr. Mike Trevisan is professor and director of the Assessment and Evaluation Center at Washington State University. He has evaluated or provided assessment development work for numerous NSF, state agency, and school district projects.

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Denny Davis Washington State University

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Dr. Denny Davis is professor of engineering at Washington State University and is co-director of the new Center for Engineering Education. He has received numerous NSF grants focused on the renewal of engineering education.

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Steven Beyerlein University of Idaho

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Dr. Beyerlein is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Idaho. He has numerous publications in engineering education has been a contributor to numerous NSF grants on engineering education.

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Phillip Thompson Seattle University

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Dr. Phillip Thompson is an associate professor in civil and environmental engineering at Seattle University. He has interests in capstone design education.

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Olakunle Harrison Tuskegee University

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

A Review of Literature on Assessment Practices in Capstone Engineering Design Courses: Implications for Formative Assessment

Abstract This paper presents findings from a literature review on classroom assessment in capstone engineering design courses. Nine engineering education and design journals and conference proceedings were queried, going back 10 years. Based on specific criteria, thirty-two articles were identified for review. Findings show a focus on description of classroom assessment techniques and their general use. Three articles specifically focus on the use of formative classroom assessment to enhance student design competence and professional skills. The literature, while emerging, is fragmented and diffuse. Implications for classroom assessment practice and scholarship in engineering education are addressed.

Background A critical component of the education and training of engineering professionals is the capstone design course. The purpose of this course is to provide a culminating experience for senior engineering students that foreshadows the type of project work practicing engineers encounter on the job. In these courses students must work under real-world constraints on ill-defined problems, typically in teams, and often receive industry feedback during various phases of a design project1.

A recent national survey of capstone engineering design course instructors across programs and disciplines found that respondents reported using the capstone design course to document student achievement for accountability and accreditation purposes2. However, respondents also reported uncertainty with using classroom assessments to enhance student achievement or ways to use assessment to achieve capstone design course outcomes.

Of particular interest for this paper is the extent to which classroom assessment (in contrast to program assessment) has received attention in the literature by faculty and other researchers in capstone design coursework. While the literature is replete with examples of assessment used for reporting of student achievement or program evaluation, the extent to which the literature deals with classroom assessment is not readily apparent. In addition, we sought to discover what has been learned about the conduct of capstone design classroom assessment that could be used to enhance student achievement, that is, classroom assessment used for formative purposes.

Classroom assessments are at the heart of the teaching and learning process, and likely the assessments most important to students3. Classroom assessments can reveal to students course expectations, whether or not a student is on the right track in pursuit of

Trevisan, M., & Davis, D., & Beyerlein, S., & Thompson, P., & Harrison, O. (2006, June), A Review Of Literature On Assessment Practices In Capstone Engineering Design Courses: Implications For Formative Assessment Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--690

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015