June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Design in Engineering Education
11.249.1 - 11.249.13
Assessment Framework for Capstone Design Courses
This paper describes a framework for developing and implementing assessment instruments in capstone engineering design courses. The framework provides a structure for aligning learning outcomes, methods for examining performance related to these outcomes, and providing feedback that improves student learning in these outcome areas. The framework incorporates three different perspectives—that of the educational researcher, the student learner, and the professional practitioner. The paper concludes by highlighting which framework components inform different steps in a methodology currently being used to create sound, broadly-applicable, and efficient assessment instruments for capstone design courses.
Engineering design is recognized as a vehicle for cultivating many of the practical skills needed for engineering practice1. A number of assessment approaches have been proposed for measuring achievement of engineering design outcomes2. Researchers have reported on important educational questions, but their methods are disconnected from practical day-to-day use in the workplace or the design studio3,4,5,6. Authors who have explored issues in program assessment have used design journals and student portfolios to assess design team skills as well as attributes of design products7,8,9. There are also some assessment tools that are highly student- centered and provide real-time feedback10. However, these are not wrapped around long-term project work.
A national survey of capstone engineering design instructors indicates that most use a collection of custom-designed, single-purpose assessments that are not well-integrated with one another and are largely untested for reliability or validity11. This led participants in the Transferable Integrated Design Engineering Education (TIDEE) consortium to shift their focus from articulation between 2-year and 4-year programs12,13,14 to capstone course assessment15,16. In 2004, TIDEE received a National Science Foundation grant to develop transferable assessment for capstone engineering design courses. This research project responds to the need for a deeper, richer, more rigorous definition of the knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes that are important to engineering practice.
The assessment framework presented here was informed by a review of published literature on design assessment2 and input from a ten-member focus group that met twice over the last two years17. The focus group brought together diverse perspectives related to engineering practice, engineering design education, and assessment. Disciplines of mechanical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, industrial engineering, bioengineering, and educational assessment were represented in the focus group. Employers included private educational institutions, public universities, minority-serving universities, a major corporation, and the National Academy of Engineering.
Beyerlein, S., & Davis, D., & Thompson, P., & Trevisan, M., & Harrison, O. (2006, June), Assessment Framework For Capstone Design Courses Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/842
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