June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.235.1 - 13.235.25
Assessment and Evaluation of Engineering Technology Program Outcomes Using Direct Measures
In order to ensure the quality of a program on an ongoing basis, it is essential that a program has a sound and viable Continuous Improvement Plan. The two key elements of the plan are assessment and evaluation. The term “assessment” means one or more processes that identify, collect, use and prepare data that can be used to evaluate achievement of program outcomes and educational objectives. The term “evaluation” characterizes one or more processes for interpretation of the data and evidence accumulated through assessment practices that (a) determine the extent to which program outcomes or educational objectives are being achieved; or (b) result in decisions and actions taken to improve the program.
Multiple constituencies are to be involved in the process, as the TAC/ABET Technology Criteria 2000 (TC2K) stipulate use of multiple assessment tools and measures for (a) the program outcomes, i.e., knowledge and capabilities of students at the time of graduation and (b) the program objectives, i.e., the expected accomplishments of graduates during the first few years after graduation. Effective assessment tools provide the information needed to measure outcomes and objectives, so necessary improvements can be implemented.
The focus of this paper is on assessment of program outcomes. The primary assessment of program outcomes is based on direct measures, i.e., student work, such as assignments, exams and student portfolios related to coursework. Some such measures, which have been used by the civil engineering technology program at this institution for two specific courses, are discussed in this paper. Various templates (rubrics) used in the process are also included. An evaluation of assessment data through comparison with established benchmarks is presented to determine the extent to which program outcomes pertaining to the two courses are being achieved. Follow-up actions warranted to implement the results of program evaluation, and thus “to close the loop,” are also discussed.
The basic premise of the accreditation process for engineering technology programs, in accordance with the technology criteria 2000 (TC2K)1 adopted by the TAC/ABET, is that every program must demonstrate, through documentary evidence, that program educational objectives and program outcomes are achieved. The program educational objectives are defined as broad statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing graduates to achieve during the first few years following graduation. The program outcomes are defined as statements that describe what units of knowledge or skill students are expected to acquire from the program to prepare them to achieve the program educational objectives. These are typically demonstrated by the student and measured by the program at the time of graduation. The TAC/ABET designated (a – k) requirements must be included in some way in the program outcomes.
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