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An Instrument to Assess Students’ Engineering Problem Solving Ability in Cooperative Problem-based Learning (CPBL)

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Assessment Instruments

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.183.1 - 22.183.21



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Paper Authors


Syed Helmi Syed Hassan Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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Syed Helmi is an academic staff in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and is currently a Ph.D. in Engineering Education candidate in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

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Khairiyah Mohd-Yusof Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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Khairiyah is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. She is presently the Deputy Director at the Centre for Teaching and Learning in UTM. Her main research areas are Process Modeling, Simulation and Control, and Engineering Education. She has been implementing PBL in her courses since 2002 and is also involved in training engineering instructors in teaching and learning throughout Malaysia.

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Mohd Salleh Abu Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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Mohd Salleh Abu is a Professor of Mathematics Education at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). He has vast teaching and research experiences at higher education with specific concentration in mathematics education, statistical data analysis and engineering education. He was the former Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning and later appointed as the Dean of of The Faculty of Education, UTM. He has produced numerous academic references in the fields of mathematics education and statistical data analysis.

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Shahrin Mohammad Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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Shahrin bin Mohammad is a Professor in Civil Engineering and currently the Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) with more than 26 years of experience in teaching, supervising and research. He has been the IT Manager, Head of Dept, Deputy Dean at the faculty and Director of Academic Quality, UTM. He has been deeply involved in planning and managing academic programmes and has conducted more than 65 lectures/workshops related to outcome based education (OBE) and Quality Assurance. He has also been one of the referred person on OBE, ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System, Engineering Accreditation and on Academic Quality Assurance in Malaysia.

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An Instrument to Assess Students’ Engineering Problem Solving Ability in Cooperative Problem-based Learning (CPBL)Abstract This paper reports the development of an instrument that can be used to study students’ability in their problem solving skills while undergoing cooperative problem-based learning(CPBL) in engineering classrooms. The instrument combines Philip’s flowchart of traditionalengineering problem solving model which was divided into definition, strategy and solutionphases, with Hmelo’s components of problem solving assets which are knowledge, perceptionand cognitive processing. The instrument consists of 24-self-report items which require studentsto indicate the degree of their problem solving skills across the following domains: problemidentification, problem analysis and synthesis, and solution generation. The instrument alsomeasures the students’ ability in conducting self-directed learning and reflection, which are veryimportant elements in enhancing problem solving skills. Evidence of scale properties areprovided along with the relationship between students’ knowledge, perception and cognitiveprocessing. The instrument shows the degree of students’ problem solving process skills,whether they usually take the surface or deep approach.A sample study is performed on a group of students in a third year engineering class which useCPBL as the teaching methodology, and is reported in this paper. The instrument had beenvalidated by experts in problem solving and problem-based learning. The overall reliability ofthe instrument is considered high with Cronbach alpha of 0.94.

Syed Hassan, S. H., & Mohd-Yusof, K., & Abu, M. S., & Mohammad, S. (2011, June), An Instrument to Assess Students’ Engineering Problem Solving Ability in Cooperative Problem-based Learning (CPBL) Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17464

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