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A Student Outcomes Assessment Methodology for Technology-Based and Hands-On Intensive Curricula

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Focus on the Classroom: Innovative Pedagogies

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


David I. Spang Rowan College at Burlington County

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Dr. David Spang is the Sr. Vice President & Provost at Rowan College at Burlington County in Mt. Laurel, NJ. Prior to being named Sr. Vice President & Provost, Dr. Spang served as Interim President, Provost, Vice President of Academic Programs and as Dean of the Science, Mathematics, and Technology division. Dr. Spang holds a PhD degree in Materials Science and Engineering and a MBA degree, with a concentration in Innovation and Technology Management. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Spang spent nearly twenty years in R&D and business development.

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Kathryn E. Strang Rowan College at Burlington County

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Kathryn E. Strang is the Director of Compliance, Assessment and Research at Rowan College at Burlington County in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She has established and sustained a diligent process that captures assessment data with a strong emphasis on academic trends and issues. The final product is verifiable evidence of student achievement in knowledge, skills, and critical thinking. Kathryn then uses the results of assessments to improve the quality of programs, to provide validation to internal and external audiences, and to aid in achieving the college’s mission and goals. Most recently her responsibilities included serving on the PRR steering committee for Standards 7 & 14 and the Co-Chair for Standard 14, working as a lead on ABET accreditation, chairing the general education committee for the college, and overseeing all assessments and institutional effectiveness plans. At the 2015 Drexel University assessment conference: Assessment for Student Success - Building Academic Innovation & Renewal, Kathryn authored and conducted the presentation, Utilizing & Linking Academic Assessment Outcomes to Strategic Planning.

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It is desirable to educators, and important for students, that a sound outcomes assessment methodology be employed in technology-based and hands-on intensive courses to measure and ensure that requisite competencies are obtained by students. It is expected that a working knowledge of these important competencies can help a two-year college graduate more effectively demonstrate mastery of the necessary skills and knowledge, and therefore add more value to a potential employer’s operations. While assessment of student learning can be straightforward for general education courses, meaningful measurement of student learning within the context of technology-based and hands-on curricula are often more difficult. However, several elements of an assessment methodology can be employed that are helpful in measuring student learning according to preset benchmarks, when student learning is demonstrated in such environments. Important assessment elements include a sound understanding of the relevant competencies to be gained, the formulation of descriptive outcome statements, the setting of realistic benchmarks, and the implementation of repeatable measurement techniques. A feedback mechanism, for the purpose of continuous improvement whether or not the predetermined benchmark is met, is also a key element. The effective use of these elements are outlined and developed within the context of technology-based and hands-on course delivery in two-year colleges, and with a strong focus on measuring and reporting student learning.

Spang, D. I., & Strang, K. E. (2016, June), A Student Outcomes Assessment Methodology for Technology-Based and Hands-On Intensive Curricula Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26196

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