June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.155.1 - 14.155.8
Accreditation of Engineering Technology Programs Abstract
The Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of ABET, Inc. is proposing some major changes to the General Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Technology Programs. In particular Criterion 3, the criterion dealing with Program Outcomes, has been split into two parts, one that addresses baccalaureate degree programs and the other specific to associate degree programs. To further clarify the differentiated criteria for the two different types of programs, Criterion 5 dealing with curriculum, has also been modified. There have also been some modifications to the other criteria in an attempt to increase the commonality among the criteria for all four commissions of ABET as well to clarify the language in the overall criteria. This paper discusses the major changes in the TAC criteria and in particular, how TAC has attempted to make the criteria for associate degree programs a better fit to such programs.
Several years ago the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) started a process called harmonization in regard to the general criteria for accreditation. This was an attempt to get the four commissions of ABET, namely the Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC), the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC), the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC), and the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) to modify their respective general criteria to be similar in format. This was done to help institutions that had programs that were accredited by more than one commission with the accreditation process by having similar criteria among the four different commissions. In particular, of the eight general criteria, all but Criterion 3 dealing with Program Outcomes, and Criterion 5 dealing with Curriculum, were to be as similar as possible. While this process was taking place, TAC was also attempting to update the criteria for technology programs as the last major criteria changes were in the year 2000 with the introduction of the TCK 2000 criteria. This paper describes the some of the proposed changes to the TAC criteria and the rationale behind those changes.
It should be noted that the author has served on the Technology Accreditation Commission for five years and most recently completed his third year as an at-large member of the Executive Committee of TAC. He has also been serving on the Criteria Committee and as such, has been directly involved with the development of the revised criteria and has been an advocate for differentiated criteria for associate degree programs. While the specific criteria referenced in this paper are taken directly from the appropriate ABET documents, the opinions expressed by the author are his and his alone and are not the official opinions of either TAC or ABET.
Criterion 3 – Program Outcomes
The definition from the current 2008-2009 Criteria1 used for program outcomes is as follows: “Program outcomes are narrower statements that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that students acquire in their matriculation through the program.” The title of this definition has
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