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Aligning Assessment Tools With Course Subject And Goals

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

New Trends in CHE Education II

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.167.1 - 14.167.20



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Paper Authors

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Paul Golter Washington State University Orcid 16x16

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Bernard Van Wie Washington State University

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Gary Brown Washington State University

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Nurdan Yurt

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Baba Abdul Washington State University

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

This presentation outlines our experiences aligning assessment tools developed outside of your academic department with the goals and structure of your course. We have restructured two very different assessment tools for use in a junior level Chemical Engineering Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer course. The first is a critical thinking rubric developed by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) on the author’s campus and the second is the Thermal and Transport Science Concept Inventory. At issue are how to fit in new and different assignments, how or if to give students credit for these activities, and how to adapt the instruments to your course and material.

Introduction In assessing a novel pedagogical approach, referred to as CHAPL, developed at Washington State University (WSU) which combines several effective pedagogies in a single course including: the forming of Home Teams for conducting projects and solving homework problems (Cooperative Learning - CL); manipulating fluid and heat exchanger equipment to observe principles in action (Hands-on Learning - HL); conducting brief small group exercises to perform derivations and discuss implications (Active Learning - AL); and assigning design problems to stimulate procurement of knowledge about general principles (Problem-based Learning – PL), we have adapted two existing tools for assessing things other than basic course knowledge for our use. Namely a critical thinking rubric developed for papers and presentations in the humanities and social sciences, and the Thermal and Transport Sciences Concept inventory, which is much broader than what we needed.

This paper will begin with some background information on how and where CHAPL is implemented and a brief description of the equipment used. This is followed by a chronological description of the adaptation process used for each of the assessment tools. Details of the current implementation and sample results follow, along with a discussion of the lessons learned during the adaptation process.

Background The CHAPL pedagogy was developed in a required junior level Chemical Engineering course, Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer. This course is two credits and is offered only in the spring, as it has another junior level course, Introduction to Transport Processes, as a prerequisite. In recent years the class size has varied from 15 – 30. The class meets in two one-hour sessions each week.

The approach has undergone steady refinement so that we are now receiving positive feedback from Figure 1. Typical CHAPL Classroom the majority of the students involved. In this paradigm students work in highly interactive groups to solve problems cooperatively and propose designs as they test concepts using hands-on modules. Fig. 1 shows a typical CHAPL session. There is little lecture; instead the instructor and teaching assistants (TAs) act as preceptors, correct misconceptions and, when necessary, help resolve group conflicts. When student groups are stuck on what to do next or on a particular concept we ask “Let’s hear a sample discussion among your group of what you are thinking so

Golter, P., & Van Wie, B., & Brown, G., & Thiessen, D., & Yurt, N., & Abdul, B. (2009, June), Aligning Assessment Tools With Course Subject And Goals Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5789

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