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Academic Success Without The Use Of Tests

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.51.1 - 4.51.4

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John Barrett Crittenden

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

Session 2253

Academic Success Without the Use of Tests John Barrett Crittenden Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


An experimental class for thirty-two engineering freshmen yielded academic success without the use of the typical two or three tests during the semester and without the time consuming task of grading daily homework. The procedure used a daily quiz, the sum of all quiz grades accounting for 60% of the final grade.

I. Introduction

The Division of Engineering Fundamentals has been a part of the College of Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University since the late 1960’s. Typically, students have been graded in their freshman-level core engineering courses based upon homework assigned each day, approximately one quiz given each week, two to three tests administered each semester, and a two-hour examination taken at the end of the course. For the course associated with engineering design graphics, a semester-length team project has always been included. Students have performed in the typical manner – some cut an occasional class, some fail to pay attention in class, cramming often occurs before tests and exams, and overall performance has been mediocre. Not only is all work graded by the EF faculty without grader assistance, but also each EF faculty member is responsible for advising approximately 120 new engineering students each academic year. As the number of freshman engineering students has increased, the workload on the faculty has increased as well. Some alternative technique for teaching and grading needed to be developed while maintaining and possibly increasing the rigor of the courses.

II. Narrative

During the second summer session of 1998, an experiment was conducted as part of a two-credit engineering design graphics class with an enrollment of thirty-two students. This freshman-level class is designed to introduce engineering students to the design process and engineering graphics conventions.

The summer semester consisted of twenty-four class sessions, each session being seventy-five minutes in length, held on Mondays through Thursdays of five consecutive weeks. The final grade was based on the following categories:

Quizzes - 60% Design Graphics Project - 15% (a team project)

Crittenden, J. B. (1999, June), Academic Success Without The Use Of Tests Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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