June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Computing & Information Technology
24.199.1 - 24.199.15
Assessing BS–CS Student Outcomes Using Senior ProjectMany colleges world-wide undertake undergraduate program assessment in support of theirprograms’ continuous improvement processes. In addition to assuring stakeholders of programquality, assessment is often required by major regional and national accrediting agencies. Acritical part of the assessment process is the generation of useful data for analysis and evaluationyielding indicators for program improvement. Senior year capstone projects are fertile sources ofsuch data since they typically provide insight into how the knowledge obtained throughout thecurriculum is synthesized to either create a software artifact or perform some research activity.In this paper, we outline the Student Outcomes (SOs) and Senior Project (Capstone) course ofthe BS-CS program at XX University (XXU). We describe and evaluate a methodology used toperform assessment of attainment of the BS-CS Student Outcomes using data from the SeniorProject course. We describe our approach for assessment of the senior project in detailincluding: data collection – descriptions of the teamwork, presentation-skills, computing tools,and master rubrics; analyses of the various rubrics; and an evaluation of the assessment processincluding a description of the metrics used.We conducted a case study to address the overarching question of whether to adapt the existing(master) Senior Project Rubric, with some (hoped for) improvements, to a revised set of SOs. Tothat end, some desired attributes of the Senior Project Rubric are evaluated: (1) Applicability:Does the rubric’s methodology measure attainment of all of the SOs in a meaningful way? If notall, to which SOs is it not applicable. (2) Extendibility: Is the rubric methodology(s) applicable tovaried SO categories, and does it lend itself to fine tuning? (3) Consistency: Is there reasonableexpectation that repeated application of the rubric to identical data should yield identicalmetrics? When there is not, can this shortcoming be ameliorated?In our study 22 senior projects completed between Fall 2010 and Spring 2012, encompassing theefforts of about 82 students, were evaluated using the current assessment processes. The datacollected for these projects were analyzed in the context of the three research questionspreviously identified. The results of the study show that using the current version of the SeniorProject Rubric, our assessment method is applicable and scalable, and that there is consistency inthe metrics used.
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