Asee peer logo

Assessment Driven Evolution Of A First Year Program

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Administering First-Year Programs

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.210.1 - 15.210.20



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Rick Williams East Carolina University

author page

William Howard East Carolina University

Download Paper |

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

Assessment Driven Evolution of a First year Program


The general engineering program at East Carolina University (ECU) was established in 2004. In the fall of 2007, a major curriculum change was initiated that introduced three new courses into the first year. These courses are Engineering Graphics, Introduction to Engineering, and Computer Applications in Engineering. Each of these courses contains projects or assignments that directly assess the achievement of ABET outcomes. In addition, student surveys provide indirect assessment of student achievement of ABET outcomes as well as course level objectives. Engineering Graphics provides direct assessment of outcome k (modern engineering tools), Introduction to Engineering provides direct assessment of outcomes f (professional ethics), g (effective communications), and h (impact of engineering solutions), and Computer Applications in Engineering provides direct assessment of outcomes g (effective communications) and k (modern engineering tools). This paper presents the details of the assessment assignments in each course, the results of both direct and indirect assessment, the changes made to affect continuous improvement, and the results, both good and bad, of the changes on subsequent assessment. Taken as a whole, this work demonstrates how making assessment-driven changes to first-year courses can markedly improve the program. The results of all of the assessment tools and improvements are discussed in detail within the paper.


The B.S. is engineering program at ECU was initiated in Fall 2004. A general, rather than a discipline-specific, program was selected in order to match the demands for flexible problem solvers of the primarily small and medium-sized companies of the geographic area. The curriculum adopted included a common engineering core, with four concentration areas for a limited degree of specialization in the junior and senior years. The curriculum was also designed to incorporate best practices from the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Education Coalitions.1 Among these best practices was the “Implementation of ‘engineering up front’: the exposure of freshmen to hands-on, real world engineering practice early in their undergraduate education, ranging from ‘professional level’ laboratory facilities to realistic design projects.”2 Two freshman courses designed to provide students early exposure to engineering concepts were created. Both were six-credit courses. The first, ICEE 1010 (ICEE stands for Integrated Collaborative Engineering Environment), was taught in three one-hour lectures and three two- hour lab sessions per week. Topics included graphics, introductions to mechanical and electrical engineering concepts, professional practice topics (such as teamwork, ethics, and project management), and a robot project. The second course, ICEE 1020, was taught in five one-hour lectures and one two-hour lab session per week and included statics, mechanics of materials, materials science, and engineering economics.

In an “ideal” environment (all students beginning in fall semester at the same math level, all students highly motivated to learn engineering, and no transfer students), these freshman courses

Williams, R., & Howard, W. (2010, June), Assessment Driven Evolution Of A First Year Program Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16538

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: © 2010 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