June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Electrical and Computer
15.101.1 - 15.101.10
A Syllabus-Based Assessment and Evaluation Tool for ABET Program Accreditation
The ABET engineering accreditation criteria cover all aspects of program evaluation, from high- level institutional program educational objectives down to individual program outcomes, including evaluation of a program’s continuous improvement processes. A successful ABET evaluation indicates a functional, viable, and self-perpetuating program of engineering study. To provide faculty with an efficient and effective mechanism for gathering and evaluating program data, Lipscomb University has developed a syllabus-based ABET assessment and evaluation tool. This tool provides an easily navigable framework to guide faculty though the process of planning and conducting individual course assessments, feeding critical, timely information to program evaluation and improvement processes, and producing archival records of all course assessment activities. This paper presents the tool, shows its use in course assessment and evaluation, and discusses our experiences with the tool as a run-up to our 2009 ABET program review and evaluation.
Institutions seek ABET1 accreditation to assure a quality educational experience for students in Applied Sciences, Computing, Engineering, and Technology programs of study. ABET accreditation is based on standards of quality set collaboratively by its member technical and professional societies2. Institutions seeking accreditation begin by making a request for evaluation to ABET. Once approved, a lengthy self-study questionnaire is prepared by the institution, documenting the degree to which its administration, facilities, faculty, curriculum and students meet the accreditation criteria set forth by ABET. Once the self-study has been submitted and reviewed, an ABET evaluation team conducts a campus visit, at which time they review program course materials and samples of student work, interview faculty and administrative personnel, and resolve any questions raised by the self-study. A successful evaluation results in a six-year program accreditation.
While an ABET evaluation involves examination of large amounts of program material and an in-depth analysis of program detail, a key element in achieving a successful evaluation is the existence of a well defined, organized and functioning process of continuous improvement involving all stake holders. A transparent, well-understood process of improvement is indispensable for making measurable goal-oriented program changes, and only through a continuous process of data collection, assessment, evaluation, and results-driven change can a program remain viable in the long term.
Program Improvement Process
Within the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Lipscomb University, our process of continuous improvement closely follows the ABET “Assessment for Quality Assurance” model3 and includes two major loops of activity: 1) an “Objectives” loop where data related to
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