June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.236.1 - 11.236.30
Assessing Current Programs Against the New BOK
Through the formal development of Policy 465, the American Society of Civil Engineers has defined the Body of Knowledge (BOK) that describes the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.1, 2 The BOK is presented in the form of 15 outcomes that prescribe the necessary breadth and depth of knowledge required for a practicing civil engineer. The levels of competence for these outcomes are defined as recognition, understanding, and ability. The attainment of the BOK is expected to occur through a broad undergraduate education, specialized education at the masters level, and practical experience during the pre-licensure and post-licensure periods.
As volunteer pilot programs that comprise the Curriculum Committee of the Committee on Academic Prerequisites for Professional Practice (CAP3) began to assess themselves against the new BOK using the definitions for recognition, understanding, and ability, they quickly determined that it was very difficult to accurately measure whether an outcome was met or not. While “recognition, ability and understanding” were chosen because they aligned with the terminology used in ABET3 outcomes, a more measurable definition for each level was needed. After much debate and research into alternative methods by the newly formed CAP3 Competency Committee, it was decided that Bloom’s Taxonomy4 for the cognitive domain is widely accepted and understood and provides the best avenue for assessing accomplishment of BOK outcomes. Ensuing discussions with the CAP3 Curriculum Committee concluded that a rubric of the six levels of Bloom’s taxonomy applied to the 15 outcomes was the best tool to qualitatively assess whether a course and/or program attained a certain level of achievement. Additional work in the Curriculum Committee established the level of Blooms that should be expected for each outcome at the undergraduate, masters, and practical experience periods of an engineer’s preparation to becoming a Professional Engineer.
The purpose of this paper is to present the methodology used by the West Point Civil Engineering program to assess its program against the BOK outcomes from the initial assessment using recognition, ability and understanding to the final assessment using the established rubric. The complete history of the numerous assessments provides insight into the process and rationale of the final methodology and levels of achievement. The assessment includes program strengths, areas for improvement, suggestions for a more detailed assessment and expected adjustments to the program and its outcomes to attain compliance with the BOK outcomes. The process may assist other programs using the new rubric to assess their own BOK compliance. This methodology provides another tool that can be used as part of the program self-assessment for future ABET visits.
In a landmark effort to recognize that the civil engineering profession is growing increasingly complex while the number of credit hours in a typical undergraduate civil engineering curriculum is decreasing, ASCE adopted Policy 465 in October 1998 which stated that the
Welch, R., & Estes, A., & Meyer, F. (2006, June), Assessing Current Programs Against The New Bok Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/644
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