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Bias and Precision in Instructor Grading of Concept Inventories in Geotechnical Engineering Courses

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

High-Impact Teaching and Learning

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32154

Download Count

9

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Paper Authors

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Simon Thomas Ghanat P.E. The Citadel

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Dr. Simon Ghanat is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel (Charleston, S.C.). He received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Arizona State University. His research interests are in Engineering Education and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. He previously taught at Bucknell University and Arizona State University.

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James Kaklamanos Merrimack College

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Dr. James Kaklamanos is Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Zampell Family Faculty Fellow at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. Jim received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tufts University, along with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the same institution. He specializes in geotechnical engineering, and his published work has included research on site response analyses, ground-motion prediction equations, uncertainty in earthquake engineering, and engineering education. At Merrimack, Jim has taught courses in geotechnical engineering, foundation engineering, earth retaining structures, earthquake engineering, engineering mechanics, and engineering probability and statistics.

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Tanya Kunberger P.E. Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. Kunberger is a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering in the U. A. Whitaker College of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Kunberger received her B.C.E. and certificate in Geochemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a minor in Soil Science from North Carolina State University. Her areas of specialization are geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering. Educational areas of interest are self-efficacy and persistence in engineering and development of an interest in STEM topics in K-12 students.

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Corrie Walton-Macaulay Ph.D., P.E. Saint Martin's University

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With degrees in both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the University of Arkansas, and a doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky, Dr. Corrie Walton-Macaulay is now a Geotechnical Engineering Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Saint Martin's University. He teaches the traditional geotechnical course of soil mechanics, but also teaches civil engineering materials, mechanics of materials and pavement design. His research area is in unsaturated soil mechanics, energy geotechnics, and transportation infrastructure resiliency.

Address: 5000 Abbey Way SE, Saint Martin's University, Lacey, WA 98503

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Suresh Immanuel P.E. University of Evansville

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Dr. Immanuel Selvaraj is an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Evansville, IN. He holds a PhD degree from Auburn University and a licensed professional engineer. His research interests are in engineering education, pavement design and analysis, pavement management, and pavement instrumentation. At the University of Evansville, he teaches courses such as transportation engineering, soil mechanics, geotechnical engineering, advanced pavement design, pavement management, and surveying.

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David A. Saftner University of Minnesota Duluth

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David Saftner is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He received a BS in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy and MS and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan.

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Brock E. Barry P.E. U.S. Military Academy

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Dr. Brock E. Barry, P.E. is Professor of Engineering Educaiton in the Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. Dr. Barry holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree from University of Colorado at Boulder, and a PhD from Purdue University. Prior to pursuing a career in academics, Dr. Barry spent 10-years as a senior geotechnical engineer and project manager on projects throughout the United States. He is a licensed professional engineer in multiple states. Dr. Barry’s areas of research include assessment of professional ethics, teaching and learning in engineering education, nonverbal communication in the classroom, and learning through historical engineering accomplishments. He has authored and co-authored a significant number of journal articles and book chapters on these topics.

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Shawn Griffiths University of Wyoming

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Shawn Griffiths is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Wyoming. Shawn holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Utah State University (2009), M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Arkansas (2011) and a Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He believes attitude and hard work are the two most important ingredients in successful learning. As such, he strives to have a classroom that is filled with ideas, questions, and a positive environment. He also believe school is the place to make mistakes, and encourages students to be brave enough to “try, try again,” until they succeed.

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Craig M. Shillaber Northeastern University

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Craig M. Shillaber is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University. He earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in 2016, an M.S. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in 2009, and a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 2008. His research interests include sustainability education in civil engineering, geotechnical subsurface characterization, developing and improving methods for assessing life-cycle embodied energy and carbon emissions for the geotechnical profession, and sustainable geotechnics. Dr. Shillaber is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI), where he has served on the Sustainability Committee since 2013.

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Chris Swan Tufts University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5670-8938

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Chris Swan is Dean of Undergraduate Education for the School of Engineering and an associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Tufts University. He has additional appointments in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts. His current engineering education research interests focus on community engagement, service-based projects and examining whether an entrepreneurial mindset can be used to further engineering education innovations. He also does research on the development of reuse strategies for waste materials.

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Abstract

An assessment of bias and precision in instructor grading was undertaken at several private and public institutions with civil engineering programs. At five institutions, undergraduate civil engineering majors completed a concept inventory at the conclusion of their first course in geotechnical engineering. The ten-question instrument focused on fundamental concepts in geotechnical engineering to assess students’ knowledge gained throughout the course. A random sample of ten surveys was collected from each of the five institutions, leading to a dataset of n = 50 concept inventories encompassing a breadth of student populations. A team of geotechnical engineering professors from nine institutions (including four institutions not included in the dataset) independently graded the 50 concept inventories, using an established solution to the instrument. The end result was a distribution of nine instructor scores for each question within the dataset of student responses. The objectives of this study were (1) to quantify instructor bias in grading concept inventories by examining whether there are differences between instructors' grading of their own students and instructors' grading of anonymous surveys, and (2) to quantify instructor precision (instructor-to-instructor variability) in grading. Statistical analyses were performed on the scores of the concept inventories to quantify the distributions of instructor grading within the distributions of student scores. In the context of an undergraduate geotechnical engineering course, this paper discusses the concept inventory, grading criteria, institutional contexts, statistical analyses, and suggestions for future research. Recommendations are provided for reducing bias and increasing precision in instructor grading in undergraduate civil engineering courses.

Ghanat, S. T., & Kaklamanos, J., & Kunberger, T., & Walton-Macaulay, C., & Immanuel, S., & Saftner, D. A., & Barry, B. E., & Griffiths, S., & Shillaber, C. M., & Swan, C. (2019, June), Bias and Precision in Instructor Grading of Concept Inventories in Geotechnical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32154

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