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Changes in ABET Criteria: A Framework for Transition with Greater Fidelity in Artifacts Supporting Student Performance

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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

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: Assessment and Accreditation: Making the Grade!

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Thomas W. DeNucci U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Dr. Tom DeNucci serves as an Associate Professor in the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Section at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He holds a D.Eng. in Ship Design from the Technical University of Delft. Dr. DeNucci recently retired from active duty, having served aboard CGC HEALY, Naval Engineering Support Units and at the Coast Guard Academy. During his time at the Academy, he has taught a variety of engineering courses including Principles of Ship Design, Ship Design and System Integration, Marine Engineering and Principles of Naval Architecture. His research interests include Naval and Commercial Ship Design Tools and Methods, Design Optimization and assessment of ship intact stability.

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Elizabeth (Elisha) M.H. Garcia U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Dr. Elizabeth (Elisha) MH Garcia is an Associate Professor of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. She has taught at the USCGA for over a decade. Her research interests include analytical modeling of vortex-induced vibrations, as well as pedagogical research into the efficacy of concept maps as a learning tool in engineering courses.

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The Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Program at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET. The accreditation process requires programs to meet criteria and outcomes indicative of a robust and supportive academic environment where graduates are adequately prepared to meet employer needs post-graduation. Changes to the long-standing ABET Criteria were approved in 2018, and all general reviews conducted in the 2019 – 2020 accreditation cycle, and beyond, will be evaluated against these new criteria.

In anticipation of a 2019 ABET general review, the program’s transition to the new ABET Criteria is described. This includes program interpretation of the updated ABET Criteria, with a specific focus on Criterion 3, Student Outcomes, and newly revised ABET language and definitions. Additional impacts to the assessment framework as a result of a new (institutional) core curriculum are also discussed.

Concurrently, evidence-based changes were applied to the assessment framework to achieve greater fidelity in the artifacts provided as evidence of student performance. A student performance vector was implemented to categorize the quality of student work as Excellent, Adequate, Marginal or Unsatisfactory (EAMU Vector). The implementation and application of the EAMU vector is described and data collected from the 2018-2019 academic year is presented to show both an increase in the fidelity of the assessment data and the creation of meaningful student performance data trends over time.

The ABET accreditation visit found no shortcomings in Criterion 3 – Student Outcomes. For this reason, this paper is apropos, as it may reduce challenges for any other mechanics-based programs seeking initial accreditation or those programs seeking to revise their assessment framework in preparation for ABET accreditation.

DeNucci, T. W., & Garcia, E. E. M. (2020, June), Changes in ABET Criteria: A Framework for Transition with Greater Fidelity in Artifacts Supporting Student Performance Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34271

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