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An Instrument For Assessing Knowledge Gain In A First Course In Circuit Theory

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.182.1 - 7.182.10



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Paper Authors

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Oscar R Gonzalez

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James F Leathrum

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Amit Kumar H

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Vishnu Lakdawala

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Stephen Zahorian

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Session 1483

An Instrument for Assessing Knowledge Gain in a First Course in Circuit Theory

Vishnu K. Lakdawala, Stephen A. Zahorian, Oscar R. González, Amit Kumar H., and James F. Leathrum, Jr.

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Old Dominion Unive rsity Norfolk, VA 23529

Abstract Although there has been considerable research on the development and use of assessment instruments to measure the effectiveness of various pedagogical approaches to teaching introductory physics classes (Hestenes et al. 1 , Hestenes et al2 , Hake3 , Saul et al. 4 ) and other science courses (for example, see Vosniadou5 ), there is relatively little similar work that has been done to develop assessment instruments for the first circuit theory course that is taught in electrical and computer engineering. Given the large numbers of students nationwide who take such a course, the challenge this course presents to beginning engineering students, and the introduction of new approaches to teach this material, an instrument similar to those available for physics is needed to identify student misconceptions at the beginning of the class and to measure the normalized learning gain at the end of the class (Hake3 ). These gains and other metrics can then be used to compare the effect of different teaching methods. In addition, this same instrument or portions of it can be offered at later times in the curriculum to measure retention and reinforcement from other courses. This concept-based testing approach is useful to examine the overall effectiveness of the circuit component of a curriculum and could thus be used as part of the continuous self- improvement process required under the ABET 2000 rules.

1. Introduction

In recent years, in response to the pressures from both industry and academic accreditation bodies, higher education institutions are incorporating more and more student learning outcomes and assessment techniques in their educational programs and courses. Student learning outcomes and assessment are major criteria included in the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) 2000 criteria. This is further substantiated by the many recent education related conferences which include assessment as a key subject area. Recently the IEEE Transactions on Education devoted a complete special issue on assessment (McGourty and Kerns 6 ). The issue contains papers on development, implementation, and institutionalization of educational assessment in engineering education. A number of assessment instruments that assess multiple dimensions of learning are also available (for example, see FLAG7 ) to faculty in science, mathematics, and engineering. In addition, over the past several years, considerable effort has been devoted to research in the area of technology-enhanced education. Progress has been made, addressing a variety of educational needs, ranging from supplements to existing

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Gonzalez, O. R., & Leathrum, J. F., & Kumar H, A., & Lakdawala, V., & Zahorian, S. (2002, June), An Instrument For Assessing Knowledge Gain In A First Course In Circuit Theory Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10335

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