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Applied ABET Student Outcome Continuous Improvement Process

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

ETAC/ABET-Related Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Byron G. Garry South Dakota State University

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BYRON GARRY is an Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator in the Department of
Construction & Operations Management in the College of Engineering at South Dakota State University. He has been a member of ASEE since 1998.

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A sustainable continuous improvement process was desired for use in the ABET-ETAC accreditation process for an EET program. From the educational research field, it is known that programs must consider both an evidence-based continuous improvement process for internal purposes, as well as meeting the needs of external accountability. Programs need to assess and implement improvements in how well students are learning, which must be carried out in conjunction with improvements in their own program assessment process. There are also many considerations from a study of the field of quality, gathered from the program’s foundation in the electronics manufacturing industry, which can be applied. Some of Deming’s fourteen points on Total Quality Management, concepts and quality principles from the American Society for Quality, and principles from the ISO 9001-2015 quality management system standards can be applied to a student outcome continuous improvement process. For programs desiring ABET accreditation, there are specific requirements which must be documented, for how and when external and internal stakeholders are consulted. Another consideration growing in importance is the use of rubrics to help standardize evaluation of student work over time and audiences.

With all of these factors under consideration, our EET program has developed, and continues to use, a process that can be illustrated by a graphic that features three intersecting continuous improvement loops. This graphic helped the program to clarify the assessment, evaluation, and student learning improvement procedures. The EET program faculty have fully accepted and are implementing the process described. A table illustrates the assessment data reporting process used by the program, showing some of the assessment data gathered and improvement decisions made as this process was used over a five-year period in a capstone course.

Garry, B. G. (2016, June), Applied ABET Student Outcome Continuous Improvement Process Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26258

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