Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
The undergraduate laboratory course is often viewed as one of the most important classes in the chemical engineering curriculum as it is an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience with equipment and concepts they have learned in their previous classes. At the authors’ academic institution, the chemical engineering faculty are in the process of planning changes to the laboratory curriculum. It was clear that benchmarking existing infrastructure, space needs, and equipment improvements was a foundational piece of the discussion, and so too was a benchmarking of the pedagogical practices and efficacy of those practices already in place. Therefore, a means of assessment was required to track if students showed learning and/or skill gains from newer laboratory structures when compared to existing ones.
This work-in-progress paper focuses on the development and implementation of these assessment methods. Preliminary quantitative and qualitative data gathered from a complete chemical engineering laboratory sequence is presented, focusing on assessment of students’ attitudes, knowledge, and skills. Validated self-assessment surveys were used to collect information about student attitudes and knowledge of laboratory practices. One instrument was slightly modified, but not in a way that invalidates the instrument. An existing, validated rubric was used to assess technical writing, and an electronic-based skills test was developed to assess laboratory skills and concepts specific to chemical engineering. This preliminary data will serve as the baseline for future studies of the chemical engineering laboratory course.
The preliminary study tracks one cohort of approximately 60 students through the complete laboratory sequence and is aimed at investigating if students’ attitudes, knowledge, and/or skills change throughout the sequence. Discussion will include potential reasons for the observed trends, as well as strengths and limitations of the assessment methods which may be apparent from the preliminary data. The authors wish to solicit feedback from chemical engineering faculty, course instructors, and professionals related to the essential learning objectives for chemical engineering laboratory courses and best practices and common methods for assessing the efficacy of laboratory instruction. The intent is to identify relevant existing metrics, as well as to refine or develop metrics that can be used to inform decisions regarding proposed changes in chemical engineering laboratory curriculum and laboratory pedagogy.
Anastasio, D. D., & Chenette, H., & Neumann, G. T., & Ribera, T. (2018, June), Board 35: Work in Progress: Developing a Multi-dimensional Method for Student Assessment in Chemical Engineering Laboratory Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30014
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