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Automated Grading Of Design Problems

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.242.1 - 10.242.16



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Paper Authors

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Terence Weigel

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

Session Number 1793

Automated Grading of Design Problems

Terence A. Weigel, PhD, PE

Associate Professor Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky 40292 (502)852-4617


In the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Louisville, an automated grading system has been in use for about eight years. A recent addition to the grader represents a first step toward enhancing its ability to assess solutions for design problems. This paper describes features of the grader that are used to evaluate work done by students on design problems.

The grader is used in the course CEE 422, Fundamentals of Steel Design. Emphasis in this course is on design of steel building members (for example, beams and columns) using the AISC LRFD specification (AISC1). As is typical of most engineering design, there is no single building configuration that is “best”, there are multiple configurations that are “satisfactory”, and there are multiple design criteria that must be satisfied. Furthermore, “good” designs generally can be achieved only by global, system consideration, and not by optimizing design of individual elements.

For these reasons, evaluations of solutions to design problems offer unique challenges to an automated grading system. On the other hand, automated graders offer many advantages: the ability to assign a variety of problems; the ability to perform a more comprehensive evaluation of solutions; reduction in the workload on the instructor; assignment of individualized problems; and the ability to assign focused remedial work. Of course, all of these advantages are available with traditional grading methodology, but the work load that their use imposes on the instructor is normally prohibitive. With automated grading, there is no additional load on the instructor.

The grader used in CEE 422 is being adapted to better address design problems. Problems are presented in such a manner that students are required to make choices typical of those made by practicing designers. Choices made by the student are critiqued and alternate, possibly better, solutions are presented. Future versions of the grader will focus on requiring students to make decisions at system level.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society of Engineering Education

Weigel, T. (2005, June), Automated Grading Of Design Problems Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14550

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