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Adjusting to the New ABET Criteria 3 and 5: It’s Really Not Very Hard

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession and ASCE

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Allen C. Estes California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Allen C. Estes is a Professor and Head for the Architectural Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Until January 2007, Dr. Estes was the Director of the Civil Engineering Program at the United States Military Academy (USMA). He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. Al Estes received a B.S. degree from USMA in1978, M.S. degrees in StructuralEngineering and in Construction Management from Stanford University in 1987 and a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997.

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Pamalee A. Brady California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Pamalee Brady is a Professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She teaches courses in structural systems, concrete, steel and wood design as well as structural engineering courses for architecture and construction management students. Prior to joining the faculty at Cal Poly she worked in applied research at the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois. She is a member of the Education Committee of the ASCE Forensic Engineering Division and an Associate Editor of the ASCE Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities. Her research is in the areas of engineering education, including engineering case studies in undergraduate education.

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Peter Laursen

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Dr. Peter Laursen, P.E., is an Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) where he teaches courses on the analysis and design of structural systems including laboratory courses.

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For the past several years, ABET committees have been revising ABET general criteria 3 (Student outcomes) and 5 (Curriculum) of the general criteria. The ABET Engineering Area Delegation approved the proposed changes for a review and comment period. Based on comments, the new criteria could be effective for the 2018-19 academic year.

Changes to the general criteria occur infrequently. In this case, the eleven familiar criterion 3 a-k student outcomes are being replaced by seven new student outcomes. Because the attainment of student outcomes must be assessed and reported in self-studies, this appears to be a major change that will require programs to perform an extensive overhaul of their existing assessment systems. In reality, the actual change in accreditation requirements are very small and can be accommodated with relatively little effort. In most cases the new requirements are easier to meet than the existing requirements and present increased flexibility for many programs.

This paper analyzes the differences between the existing criteria and the proposed changes. Through a specific detailed example, the paper illustrates how an existing assessment system can seamlessly adjust for the new criteria and recommends that programs switch to the new criteria now even if the next accreditation visit is several years away. Most of the embedded indicators and direct measures of attainment can still be used. The results simply need to be organized differently.

COORDINATING NOTE: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s session(s) for the CE Division of ASEE in 2018. It should be considered for inclusion in the sessions on “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE.” that the ASCE Liaison Committee is organizing, but would be appropriate for other CE Division sessions as well.

Estes, A. C., & Brady, P. A., & Laursen, P. (2018, June), Adjusting to the New ABET Criteria 3 and 5: It’s Really Not Very Hard Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29756

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