June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.172.1 - 15.172.18
An Outcomes-Driven Approach for Assessment: A Continuous Improvement Process
Continuous improvement is an important issue in education because it defines the framework for assessment and evaluation, which is required by accrediting agencies. Consequently, an accredited ET program that accomplishes its mission and successfully achieves its program objectives and outcomes must have multiple levels of continuous improvement whose results are used to constantly update and evaluate the program for sustained improvement and continued success. A plan must exist that details program-level continuous improvement, as well as course-level continuous improvement.
In this paper, we describe an ABET-driven assessment plan that was originally developed to address some weaknesses and concerns identified by program evaluators during a previous accreditation visit. However, faculty of the Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) seized this opportunity to embark on a major program revision making use of its newly organized Industrial Advisory Board (IAB). As a result, a five-step process that consists of 1) program assessment planning, 2) data collection, 3) data analysis, 4) program review, and 5) program improvement actions was developed. During this process, the program objectives and outcomes are evaluated and revised to maintain currency and technical relevance. Using the results from step 5, a curriculum mapping worksheet (CMW) is modified and used to revise the course-level assessment and evaluation plan. The CMW is a matrix mapping each course in the EET curriculum to appropriate program outcomes and identifies assessment tools used to measure the success of each outcome. Moreover, the CMW provides a mechanism for correlating program- level outcomes with course-level outcomes using effective assessment tools to measure student performance. Based on the results of the assessment tools, continuous improvement actions at the course level and program level are identified and used to revise the program assessment and evaluation plan which may also provide useful information to other institutions seeking ABET accreditation.
Objectives and Outcomes
The program educational objectives have been defined according to the ABET Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Technology Programs1, as “broad statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing graduates to achieve during the first few years following graduation”. The following objectives were approved by the IAB and EET faculty:
Within a short period after gaining employment, EET graduates should:
1. be able to apply knowledge of electrical devices and systems. 2. be able to use modern tools including computer systems and software. 3. be able to integrate theoretical and practical knowledge in the completion of assigned tasks.
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