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Competency Based Assessment Of Engineering Technology Program Outcomes

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Assessment & Continuous Improvement in ET: Part I

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.299.1 - 15.299.11



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Paper Authors


Carmine Balascio University of Delaware

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Carmine C. Balascio, Ph.D., P.E. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioresources Engineering at the University of Delaware. He earned bachelor’s degrees in Agricultural Engineering Technology and Mathematics from U.D. He earned an M.S. in Agricultural Engineering and a Ph.D. double major in Agricultural Engineering and Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University. He teaches courses in surveying, soil mechanics, and storm-water management and has research interests in urban hydrology, water resources engineering, and assessment of student learning. He is a former two-term member of Delaware’s Engineering Licensing board, the DAPE Council. He continues to be active on DAPE and NCEES committees.

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Thomas Brumm Iowa State University

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Thomas J. Brumm, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU). He also serves as the Director of Assessment and Online Learning for the College of Engineering. He earned a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Engineering from ISU, an M.S. in Agricultural Engineering from Purdue, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering minor from ISU. He has research interests in biorenewables, biofuels, grain and seed quality, and student learning and assessment.

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Steven Mickelson Iowa State University

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Steven Mickelson, Ph.D. is a Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU). He is the Director of the ISU Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Director ISU Learning Communities, Co-Director Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department. He earned bachelor’s, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from ISU. His research focuses on the evaluation of agricultural best management practices for determining their effectiveness in reducing chemical and soil losses to surface water bodies. He also conducts research related to the scholarship of teaching and learning, focusing on effective classroom techniques for engaging students in learning.

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

Competency-Based Assessment of Engineering Technology Program Outcomes


ABET1 is the preeminent organization in the U.S. for accreditation of 2- and 4-yr college-level educational programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. ABET accreditation regimes require program outcomes assessment. The Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of ABET is charged with accrediting two- and four-yr Engineering Technology (ET) programs. The 4-year ET major at the University of Delaware is a general ET program; and, for the purposes of TAC of ABET accreditation2, must demonstrate its graduates have mastered the a through k program outcomes listed in TAC of ABET documentation for Criterion 3 of its General Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Technology Programs. The a through k program outcomes, which include such statements as: a. an appropriate mastery of the knowledge, techniques, skills and modern tools of their disciplines, and d. an ability to apply creativity in the design of systems, components or processes appropriate to program objectives, are notoriously difficult to assess because they require complex blends of interdependent skills, the evaluations of which may be influenced by considerable subjectivity.

Iowa State University (ISU)3 has adopted a competency-based assessment approach to demonstrate program outcomes for Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET2 accreditation of all its engineering programs in addition to its programs in agricultural systems technology and industrial technology. The ISU technology programs are accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering4. In consultation with graduates and industry partners, ISU developed a set of 14 “workplace competencies.” Each competency was designed to be “clear, concise and independent of all others”3. Each competency is demonstrated by a “set of observable and measurable key actions.” The confounding that plagues assessment of the ABET a-k program outcomes is avoided, and a measure of objectivity is introduced. The ISU competencies were determined to be “necessary and sufficient to address the EAC of ABET a-k outcomes” 3, and a matrix mapping the ISU workplace competencies to the EAC of ABET a-k outcomes was developed.

This paper describes the adaptation of ISU’s competency-based assessment approach for outcomes assessment and TAC of ABET accreditation of the University of Delaware’s ET program. University of Delaware student competencies, derived from the ISU student competencies, are mapped to the TAC of ABET a-k program outcomes. As with ISU’s approach, a student ePortfolio system is utilized. Evaluations of competencies are informed by the student’s performance in a “Discovery Learning Experience” – either a technical practicum in industry or an undergraduate research project.

Balascio, C., & Brumm, T., & Mickelson, S. (2010, June), Competency Based Assessment Of Engineering Technology Program Outcomes Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16100

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