June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.293.1 - 12.293.12
Assessments for Three Performance Areas in Capstone Engineering Design
Abstract Capstone engineering design courses occupy pivotal positions in every engineering baccalaureate degree program. They are critical to preparing graduates with professional skills needed for innovative, responsible practice in a global environment, and they provide vital assessment data for ABET accreditation of degree programs. This paper describes assessment instruments developed for capstone engineering design courses, filling a crucial gap facing design educators. Seven assessment exercises are presented to address three areas of performance for capstone engineering design. Each exercise is accompanied by a scoring rubric structured around performance factors and five levels of performance. Suggestions given for utilization for formative and summative purposes make these assessments valuable for guiding student learning and assigning performance scores or grades. These assessments constitute foundational parts of an assessment system for capstone engineering design courses.
Introduction National leaders have called for reform of engineering education to prepare engineering graduates for the competitive global market place1, 2. Among capabilities cited as deficient in student preparation are professional skills and abilities to innovate technical products in the context of business conditions3, 4. Oftentimes, these topics are not given appropriate attention in engineering programs.
Important professional skill development is often assigned to capstone engineering design courses. These courses are the culminating experiences for undergraduate engineering students, and they often incorporate client-driven design projects that have significant professional challenges. Surveys of capstone design instructors, however, indicate that instructional focus and assessment of student learning vary greatly, depending on instructor preferences and abilities. Seldom are comprehensive outcomes defined for these courses5. This raises concerns regarding student preparation and ABET accreditation, both of which require assessment of design and many professional outcomes6.
More than a decade ago, Richard Stiggins made a strong case for classroom assessment as the cornerstone to effective instruction7. He argues that with clear achievement targets and appropriate assessment strategies, students are more likely to increase their achievement since they understand what is expected of them. In addition, Black and Wiliam8, studying classroom assessment practices across grades, disciplines, and countries, documented overwhelming evidence that classroom assessment can enhance student achievement and academic well being. Therefore, high quality classroom assessment in capstone design courses is vital due to pivotal roles that capstone design courses play in engineering curricula. Also, because these courses are a required part of accredited engineering programs in the US, they provide a rich environment for assessing a variety of student learning outcomes and associated program achievements.
Davis, D., & Beyerlein, S., & Harrison, O., & Thompson, P., & Trevisan, M. (2007, June), Assessments For Three Performance Areas In Capstone Engineering Design Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2759
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