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Assessing Abet Outcomes Using Capstone Design Courses

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Meeting ABET Requirements

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.261.1 - 12.261.20



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Paper Authors

author page

Paul Biney Prairie View A&M University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Assessing ABET Outcomes Using Capstone Design Courses


This paper presents a methodology fo r using capstone design project courses for assessing a number of ABET outcomes. In the advent of EC 2000, Engineering programs have grappled with methods for assessing some of the ABET outcomes, especially those skills which are not taught in the traditional engineering programs.

Senior Design and Professionalism I and II are two capstone design courses taken by seniors in the College of Engineering over a two semester period. Each course is team-taught by professors in all the engineering departments consisting of Civil, Chemical, Electrical and Mechanical. Depending on the type of projects selected, student teams could be interdisciplinary, or discipline specific. The capstone design courses are used to assess eight of the eleven ABET a-k outcomes consisting of the ability to: design a system, function on multi-disciplinary teams, adhere to professional and ethical responsibilities, communicate, understand global and local impact of engineering solutions on society, engage in lifelong learning, have knowledge of contemporary issues, and use modern engineering tools for engineering practice. Students’ abilities in these outcomes are quantitatively measured using outcome specific project related lectures and assignments given throughout the semester.

The methodology discussed in the paper has made it possible to identify problems encountered by students in these outcome skills, thereby, facilitating adjustment in course content and delivery, and formulation of plans to assist students to improve on these skills. The methodology also makes it possible to document students’ performance in these outcomes. The documentation is used to generate outcome specific binders of students’ work that are vital for ABET accreditation.

Importance of Senior Design

This course is important because it provides the student, an opportunity to practice design in a way that parallels what will be encountered in professional practice. Students are required to apply a systematic design process, incorporate engineering codes, standards, and realistic constraints that include economic; environmental; sustainability; manufacturability; ethical; health and safety; social; and political considerations in solving the design problem. In addition, Senior Design Project is the primary course used to satisfy ABET criterion 4 which requires students to be prepared for engineering practice through the curriculum culminating in a major design experience. The latter should be based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and should incorporate appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints. Senior design is also used to satisfy outcome C of criterion 3. This outcome requires students to have the ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.

Biney, P. (2007, June), Assessing Abet Outcomes Using Capstone Design Courses Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2348

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