Asee peer logo

Can ABET Assessment Really Be This Simple?

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Assessment of Learning in ECE Courses

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Claire Lynne McCullough P.E. High Point University

visit author page

Dr. McCullough received her bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Tennessee, respectively, and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Alabama. She is a member of I.E.E.E., Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, and Eta Kappa Nu. She is currently Professor and Founding Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at High Point University and is responsible for program and curriculum development. Dr. McCullough has over 30 years' experience in engineering practice and education, including industrial experience at the Tennessee Valley Authority and the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command. Her research interests include Engineering Ethics, Image and Data Fusion, Automatic Target Recognition, Bioinformatics and issues of under-representation in STEM fields. She is a former member of the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission, and is on the board of the ASEE Ethics Division and the Women in Engineering Division.

visit author page

Download Paper |


With the hard roll-out of ABET’s new outcomes 1-7 in the 2019-20 accreditation season, engineering programs across the country are re-examining and re-tooling their ABET assessment processes. Some are content to map the old a-k outcomes to the new 1-7, even though not all elements in the new version have a direct mapping to the older criteria. Others are taking the opportunity to re-evaluate their assessment procedures for efficiency and sustainability, while determining how to include new elements of 1-7. Faced with the difficulty of acquiring student work artifacts from supporting departments and the problem of gaining buy-in for continuing assessment from over-burdened faculty, the author developed an efficient and sustainable assessment program based on only three courses, all of which xe taught: a computer ethics course required of all majors of both Computer Science and Computer Engineering, and the two semesters of the Computer Engineering capstone design sequence. The program, based on the author’s extensive experience as an ABET program evaluator and as a former commissioner on the EAC, formed the basis of the recent successful initial ABET accreditation evaluation of the new Computer Engineering program at the XXXX University—that this positive evaluation took place in the first semester in which the revised criteria were effective is regarded as particularly notable. While an earlier version of this work described this process as a partially implemented strategy [XXXX], the plan has now been completely detailed, implemented, and validated by the ABET visit, which found no shortcomings whatsoever. This paper describes the assessment processes, along with the two-year cycle of the assessment schedule, and gives examples of assessment artifacts and rubrics. Other required ABET elements, such as a timeline for evaluation and improvement of Program Educational Objectives, are tied in to the assessment schedule to assure that no required parts are omitted. Ironically, the only difficulty associated with the successful implementation of this method was the perception by the engineering college administration that the plan was too simple and easy: in the semester before the ABET visit, the author was repeatedly and strongly urged to do more—more assessment of more courses with more artifacts, more complicated rubrics and more byzantine analysis. Xe was eventually allowed to proceed as planned only if willing to “take responsibility” for the results. The paper also discusses the implications on assessment of the new definitions added by ABET, such as those of complex problems and engineering design, and describes some common assessment errors and how to avoid them. While each program should thoughtfully develop its own assessment plan based on its curriculum, its students and the resources available, this paper can serve as an example blue-print for an effective assessment process for programs with few faculty, faced with establishing an effectual, efficient assessment process that can be sustained in the long-term.

McCullough, C. L. (2020, June), Can ABET Assessment Really Be This Simple? Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34253

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015