June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Council of Sections
14.148.1 - 14.148.11
ABET Accreditation – Best Practices for Assessment Kristi J. Shryock, Helen L. Reed Aerospace Engineering Department Texas A&M University
Abstract The ABET process and purpose is very often one of the most misinterpreted notions in academia. While many people know the vision of ABET is to provide leadership in assuring quality and in stimulating innovation in the areas of applied science, computing, engineering, and technology education, they occasionally lose sight of the fact that this assurance resides within the quality of your own program. A common dilemma arises in how to properly showcase the quality of a program. Many programs have sailed successfully through previous ABET visits, but they find the newer process of outcomes-based accreditation somewhat overwhelming and do not know how to proceed. In addition, programs are uncertain of the best methods or tools to evaluate the level of achievement of expected outcomes for graduates.
Information available on assessment methods will likely include terminology, such as direct and indirect methods, but the exact definition or implementation of these methods frequently causes great strife. Common questions include, “What is the best assessment method?”, “How many assessment methods does an ABET evaluator want to see?”, or even “How do you incorporate assessment methods?” The most common assessment method utilized by departments to gather data for ABET purposes would probably be the survey mechanism. Although easy to assemble and distribute, it is not always the best means for assessment in every particular case. The purpose of this paper is to assist both established and newer programs with determining methods to successfully navigate through the ABET process. Development and implementation factors will also be discussed. The authors are both from an established ABET department but are in the process of incorporating newer methods for their accreditation process. Both experienced and new personnel working with ABET programs will hopefully learn more about utilizing assessment methods effectively in their individual program.
Background Founded in 1932 under the name Engineers' Council for Professional Development, ABET (formerly Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredits post-secondary degree-granting programs. Many people interpret this to mean that ABET accredits departments, colleges, or even courses. In reality, ABET accredits programs, and your accreditation work should reflect the program as a whole.
Some programs treat the six-year time lag between visits with the following timeline: - Year 1 – Celebrate success of previous ABET visit. - Years 2-4 – Feel that ABET is a long time away.
Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference The University of New Mexico – Albuquerque Copyright © 2008, American Society for Engineering Education
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