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Assessing BS–CS Student Outcomes Using Senior Project

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Curricular Issues in Computing and Information Technology Programs II

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.199.1 - 24.199.15



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Paper Authors


Norman Pestaina Florida International University

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Mr. Norman Pestaina is a Senior Instructor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS) at Florida International University (FIU). Mr. Pestaina completed the B.Sc. in Mathematics (Special) at the University of the West Indies in 1972, and the MS in Computer Science at the Pennsylvania State University in 1979. He has been an Assistant Staff member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, and Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies in his native Barbados, W.I.

A member of the FIU-SCIS faculty for more than 30 years, Mr. Pestaina has taught at all levels of the curriculum, receiving awards for excellence in teaching on five occasions. He served the School as an Undergraduate Advisor for 15 of those years, and has served continuously as a member of the School’s Curriculum/Undergraduate Committees. Mr. Pestaina was a principal architect of the School’s program assessment processes, and the SCIS undergraduate program Assessment Coordinator from 2006 through 2013, leading successful re-accreditation of the BS in Computer Science program in 2004, and 2010. Mr. Pestaina has been a Reader and Question Leader of the College Board’s Advanced Placement Computer Science Exam since 2000.

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Tiana Solis Florida International University Orcid 16x16

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Tiana Solis is currently a Senior Academic Adviser /Team Leader at the School of Computing and Information Sciences, Florida International University. Prior to moving to Hawaii in 2007, she was an instructor and academic advisor
for the School from 1994 to 2007. Ms. Solis taught different undergraduate courses and mentored several FIU students participating in the Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FGLSAMP). She is a past adviser of the Women in Computer Science (WICS) student club. From 2008 to 2010. Ms. Solis was a programmer analyst at the Department of the Attorney General in Hawaii, a member of the team revamping the State Juvenile Justice Information System.
Her research and instructional Interests include software development, programming languages, and computer ethics.

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Peter J. Clarke Florida International Univeristy

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Peter J. Clarke received his BSc. degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill) in 1987, MS degree from SUNY Binghamton University in 1996 and PhD in Computer Science from Clemson University in 2003. His research interests are in the areas of software testing, software metrics, model-driven software development, domain-specific modeling languages, and computer science education. He is currently an associate professor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University. He is a member of the ACM (SIGSOFT, SIGCSE, and SIGAPP); IEEE Computer Society; and a member of the Association for Software Testing (AST).

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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.

Pestaina, N., & Solis, T., & Clarke, P. J. (2014, June), Assessing BS–CS Student Outcomes Using Senior Project Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20090

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