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A Study on the Effectiveness of Team-Based Oral Examinations in an Undergraduate Engineering Course

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Educational Research and Methods Poster Session

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.108.1 - 25.108.20

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Paper Authors


Lisa K. Davids Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

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Lisa Davids is an Associate Professor in the Freshmen Engineering Department, having taught at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) for 12 years. She is currently the Program Coordinator for the Freshman Engineering Department and serves as the course monitor and coordinator for the Introduction to Engineering course. During her tenure at ERAU, she has taught Fluid Mechanics, Dynamics, Experimental Aerodynamics, Aerodynamics I, and Introduction to Engineering. She is the Faculty Advisor for the ERAU chapter of Society of Women Engineers as well as a Co-advisor for the all Women's Baja SAE Team at ERAU. Her research interests involve the retention of women in engineering degree programs and effective pedagogy in undergraduate engineering curriculum.

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A Study on the Effectiveness of Team-Based Oral Examinations in an Undergraduate Engineering CourseThe conventional and pervasive written exam format used in undergraduate engineering courses,while practical, may be neither the most effective assessment tool in determining a student’sability to perform in the professional arena, nor an effective tool to motivate students tounderstand the fundamental concepts on which the exam is based. The effectiveness, validityand practicality of employing team-based oral examinations in lieu of individual written midtermexams in an undergraduate course will be presented in this paper. Several of the disadvantagesof written exams are addressed with the protocol developed for the oral exams. These protocolsare defined and discussed. Effectiveness of the team-based oral exams is quantitatively assessedthrough a comparison of student performance between the control (individual written exams) andthe experimental group (team-based oral exams). Individual and aggregate student performanceon the oral exams and the written final exam from the same semester are presented andexamined. The final exam average for the two groups is provided as a point of comparison todetermine assessment impact. Additionally, the effectiveness of the team-based oral exams fromthe students’ perspective is qualitatively assessed using results from 5-point Likert survey. Thesubjective experiences from the student and professor perspectives are presented. Resultsindicate a significant increase in the effort, retention and recall of knowledge and performance ofthe students as indicated by the final exam average and student surveys. The team-based oralexams appear to serve as a more effective tool than the traditional testing method to evaluatestudents’ learning and facilitate their deeper understanding of the course content.

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