June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.141.1 - 15.141.10
An Assessment and Data Collection Process for Evaluating Student Progress on “a-k” ABET Educational Outcomes
ABET EC2000 brought significant changes to the way engineering and engineering technology programs must assess, evaluate, improve, and document effectiveness of curriculum in order to be accredited1. This paper describes a process being used in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology department at University of Cincinnati to assess student progress on the “a-k” ABET Educational Outcomes. Several assessment rubrics were developed to assess students’ ability in lab courses, technical knowledge and competence in project design and capstone courses, and technical communication skills including oral presentations, lab reports, and technical reports. Courses from freshmen to senior year were chosen for assessment in order to demonstrate students’ development in meeting the outcomes as they progress through the program, and to identify early on any curricular areas that might require improvement. In order to make the assessment process manageable for the faculty, a java application was written that creates electronic versions of the rubrics which include the names of all the students registered in a particular course. Faculty members then simply open the electronic rubric for their course and evaluate each of the students using the assessment criteria. Aggregate data for the course is automatically created when the rubric is saved. Assessment data is collected throughout the academic year and entered into a database where benchmarks are automatically checked and assessment charts for each course are created. Faculty members meet at the start of each academic year to discuss the assessment data and to address areas where benchmarks were not met. Two complete cycles of the process have been completed. This paper will include samples of the assessment rubrics and discuss results of the assessment, changes that have been made to the curriculum as a result of the assessment, and the effect of these changes on student performance.
Using a set of rubrics, students are assessed throughout the curriculum on lab performance and report writing, technical knowledge and competence, and communication skills. A selected set of course design projects, lab assignments and reports, and writing assignments both within the department and from the humanities department are assessed. Figure 1 lists the courses in the curriculum used for assessment as well as which rubrics are used in the assessment process. Courses were chosen from freshmen to senior year in order to assess student progress in meeting program outcomes and to allow early identification of any problem areas; a strong curriculum is built on good foundation courses with a focus on program outcomes.
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