Asee peer logo

Assessing Current Programs Against The New Bok

Download Paper |


2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Achieving the Civil Engineering Body of Knowlegde

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.236.1 - 11.236.30



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Ronald Welch U.S. Military Academy

visit author page

Colonel Ronald W. Welch is an Associate Professor at the United States Military Academy (USMA). He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. COL Welch received a BS degree in Engineering Mechanics from USMA in 1982 and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1990 and 1999, respectively.

visit author page


Allen Estes U.S. Military Academy

visit author page

Colonel Allen C. Estes is a Professor and Civil Engineering Program Director at the United States Military Academy (USMA), West Point, NY. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. COL Estes received a B.S. degree from USMA in 1978, M.S. degrees in Structural Engineering and in Construction Management from Stanford University in 1987 and a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997.

visit author page


Fred Meyer U.S. Military Academy

visit author page

Lieutenant Colonel Fred Meyer is an Associate Professor at the United States Military Academy (USMA). He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. LTC Meyer received a B.S. degree from USMA in 1984, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech University in 1993 and 2002, respectively.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

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.

I. Introduction

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. 10.18260/1-2--644

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015