Asee peer logo

Assessment For Improvement In The Classroom

Download Paper |


1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.112.1 - 3.112.10

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Lynn Bellamy

author page

Barry McNeill

Download Paper |

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

Session 2513 Assessment For Improvement In The Classroom Barry McNeill, Lynn Bellamy Arizona State University

Introduction Masaaki Imai, in his book Kaizen1, pointed out that unless a company continually strives to improve the quality of their products, the products’ quality will decline over time, even if the products start out as first in class. The same is true for educational courses; unless we continually work at improving the quality of a course, the course’s quality (effectiveness) will decline over time. The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies as much to courses and products as it does to heat engines. There are a number of different continuous improvement processes (e.g., Plan Do Check Act). In its simplest form, the continuous improvement process is a cycle made up of the following three steps: 1. define a course, 2. assess the course, and 3. modify the course returning to step 2. The authors of this paper have developed, assessed, and modified four major courses during the last five years (Introduction to Engineering Design, Intermediate Design Methods, Understanding Engineering Systems : Computer Modeling and Conservation Principles, Thermodynamics). This paper presents our current thinking about the continuous improvement process and provides some of the tools and techniques we are currently using. The paper will discuss, in order, the three steps of this process. Step 1 - Defining A Course We have found that the best way to define a course is to answer the four questions posed by Ralph Tyler2 in 1949; specifically: 1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain? 2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes? 3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized? 4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained? We have developed a compact way of organizing the answers to questions 1 and 2 (and perhaps 3), which we will present but first it is important to understand how we define the learning objectives, i.e., how we articulate the answers to question 1. Learning Objectives - What Is Involved? In developing the learning objectives associated with a course we rely on the following assumptions about learning:

Bellamy, L., & McNeill, B. (1998, June), Assessment For Improvement In The Classroom Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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: © 1998 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