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Assessment System Workshop

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.222.1 - 6.222.21



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Dick Desautel

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

Session 2602

Assessment System Workshop Dick Desautel San Jose State University


This paper first reviews the concepts, design and operation of a complete engineering program assessment system, and then addresses issues of concern in system maintenance and faculty participation for such a system. The system review serves to equip those who are unfamiliar with assessment systems to be able to develop one, and those that are familiar with such systems to evaluate the system presented. The review clarifies the contrast of old and new cultures (units and topics versus outcomes and assessment), presents the basic concepts and terminology of assessment/evaluation/enhancement, describes the design and components of the system, and explains the data flow and component interrelationships. The remainder of the paper then addresses issues of system maintenance and faculty participation in terms of periodic processes and cycles, task groupings and schedules, and estimated faculty level of effort. A position is taken for how the system can be simplified to minimize faculty effort, and an argument made for which elements are essential and must necessarily be retained and emphasized.

I. Introduction

San Jose State University’s College of Engineering formed a college-wide Assessment Task Force (ATF) comprised of department representatives about three years prior to the College’s Fall 1998 ABET evaluation visit. The ATF proved to be an invaluable forum for sharing best practices, providing mutual encouragement and help, and stimulating departmental action and participation. Whereas the “old culture” of program evaluation focused on units and topics with minimal constituent input (see Figure 1), the generic assessment system design adopted by all five departments through the ATF uses embedded loops of course, program and department assessment processes (see Figure 2). Results of the accreditation visit proved the value and effectiveness of the College assessment system design as it was initially implemented in seven degree programs. Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering were two of the seven baccalaureate programs reviewed by the visit that employed this assessment system.

This paper extends the material of an earlier paper1 to include issues of system streamlining and maintenance, planning of periodic processes, and faculty participation and workload. It is a presentation-only abbreviated form of a recent extended workshop2 in best assessment practices. The workshop presented the material in more detail and included discipline-based team exercises to put system processes into practice.

In considering the “old culture” (Figure 1), an overstated critique would be that it typically had five distinctive features, each of which is now considered inadequate and unacceptable:

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Desautel, D. (2001, June), Assessment System Workshop Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8940

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