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Assessment Of Abet 3 A K In An Open Ended Capstone?

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

CE Capstone: Innovations in Learning & Assessment

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.213.1 - 15.213.18



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Paper Authors


Ronald Welch University of Texas, Tyler

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Ronald W. Welch is Professor and Chair for the Department of Civil Engineering at The
University of Texas at Tyler in Tyler, Texas. Until Jan 2007, Dr. Welch was at the United States Military Academy (USMA) where he held numerous leadership positions within the Civil Engineering Program and the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. Ron Welch received a B.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics from USMA in 1982 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana IL in 1990 and 1999, respectively.

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Michael McGinnis University of Texas, Tyler

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Dr. Michael McGinnis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler. He received his BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University. His research interests include fire behavior of structures and non-structural materials, nondestructive evaluation and K-12 math and science education.

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

Assessment of ABET 3 a-k in an Open-ended Capstone? Abstract

The University of Texas at Tyler Department of Civil Engineering is a relatively new CE program; graduating its first class in 2008 and achieving its first ABET accreditation in 2009 (retroactive to 2008). The senior design experience was conceived as one that touches seven sub-disciplines of civil engineering – hydrology, structures, transportation, environmental, geotechnical, construction management, and surveying, and is organized around a major project design (building and site development, bridge and roadway design, etc.) from initial needs gathering in client interviews through completion of the 100% design activities. The Civil Engineering program took the position that all of the program outcomes could be assessed during the two-semester senior design experience. Through the sequencing of events and assessments of 10%, 35%, and 100% design package submittals and oral presentations of their design results, students should be able to demonstrate their abilities associated with all of the ABET 3 a-k outcomes. Assessment of this type of senior design experience coupled with selected embedded indicators in all other courses, survey data, and Fundamental Exam results provides a clear picture of the actual demonstrated performance of an outcome by students.

A number of embedded indicator assessment methods for capstone experiences were assessed, evaluated and combined to build the resulting accumulation of rubric results from each submittal to allow the program to determine if the students within teams and the entire cohort have achieved the proper level of demonstration of an outcome by performance level and percentage of overall grade. A large portion of this assessment process involved matching graded activities with specific ABET outcomes, weighting the importance of each activity toward demonstration of outcome accomplishment, and evaluating accomplishment based on grade percentages. A time consuming, but well conceived upfront process yielded valuable program assessment results that could be compiled in a reasonable time frame.

The process, rubrics, data collected over two cycles, assessment of the results and changes instituted is presented. The program results of the 2008 fall ABET visit will be presented as well as how the use of the senior design as an assessment of ABET 3 a-k was viewed by the program evaluator and effected the overall program results.

1.0 Introduction

The Department of Civil Engineering began hiring faculty and admitting students in 2005. The students who made up the first graduating class in 2008 were actually admitted into the mechanical engineering program in 2004 with the anticipation of hiring the first CE faculty member. There were twelve students declared as Civil Engineering (CE) students before the department officially existed. These students were on the path to a May 2008 graduation. The timing could not have been better considering that the next scheduled ABET visit for UT Tyler was fall 2008 based on the first ever ABET accreditation visit for UT Tyler in 2002 for the electrical and mechanical programs. A program must have at


Welch, R., & McGinnis, M. (2010, June), Assessment Of Abet 3 A K In An Open Ended Capstone? Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16531

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