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Concept Inventory Assessment Instruments for Circuits Courses

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

ECE Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.367.1 - 22.367.16

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Paper Authors


Tokunbo Ogunfunmi Santa Clara University

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Tokunbo Ogunfunmi, Ph.D., P.E. is the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development in the School of Engineering at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California. He is also an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the Signal Processing Research Lab. (SPRL).

He earned his B.S.E.E. (First Class Honors) from Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife), Nigeria, his M.S.E.E. and Ph.D.E.E. from Stanford University, Stanford, California. His teaching and research interests span the areas of Circuits and Systems, Digital Signal Processing (theory, applications and implementations), Adaptive Systems, VLSI/ASIC Design and Multimedia Signal Processing. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, Member of Sigma Xi, AAAS, and ASEE.

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Mahmudur Rahman Santa Clara University

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Dr. Mahmudur Rahman received M.S. Eng. and Dr. Eng. from Tokyo Institute of Technology, and then worked as a research scientist in NEC Corporation at Tamagawa, Tokyo, Japan during 1981 -1985. He actively co-organized 1st through Fifth International Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials in various capacities including Conference Chair and Editor of Conference Proceedings during 1987 - 1993. Presently he is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the Electron Devices Laboratory at Santa Clara University. His current research interests include: 1.) Stable High Current Density Carbon Nanotube Cold Field Emission Electron Source Technology
2.) Wavelet Approach to Systematic Quantitative Characterization of Surface Nanostructures of Thin-Films based on Scanning Probe Microscopy, 3.) Statistical and Temperature Map Dependent Electromigration Modeling and Simulation of Deep-Submicron Processes Applied to Design for Manufacturing, and 4.) Low Cost Efficient Thin-film Organic Solar Cells by Optimization of Pentacene/Fullerene Interface.

He was the chair of the IEEE Electron Devices Society, Santa Clara Valley Chapter, in 1989. He is a senior member of the IEEE.

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Concept Inventory Assessment Instruments for Circuits CoursesAbstractElectric Circuits course is a core component of undergraduate curricula in electrical engineeringprograms worldwide.The Electric Circuits Concept Inventory (ECCI) is a set of multiple-choice questions that we aredeveloping to measure students’ understanding of fundamental concepts such as DC Circuitstopics such as Ohm’s law, Kirchhoff’s Laws, Parallel and Series Resistors, Nodal analysis,Mesh analysis, Thevenin’s and Norton’s theorems, Op-Amps, Capacitors and Inductors, Firstand Second-order circuits, etc. Also AC circuits topics and Advanced Circuit analysis topics arecovered.These questions do not test problem solving steps but test major concepts and ability of studentsto understand the problem and apply the required methods to solve the problems.We plan to collect and collate all similar concepts questions (generated by others and ourselves)and build up a ECCI test database that can be used in every offering of Circuits course at alluniversities who wish to participate.We also encourage other faculty to adopt the test. This test fulfills the United StatesAccreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) requirement for assessment. Italso helps track the effectiveness of teaching styles by testing whether the students are learningthe basic concepts in the course.Other previously developed Concept Inventories include the Signals and Systems ConceptInventory (SSCI) which is also a set of multiple-choice questions that measures students’understanding of fundamental concepts in Linear Signals and System courses such as signaltransformations, linearity, time-invariance, transforms, convolution, etc. There are two versionsof the SSCI for Linear Systems. : one deals with Continuous-Time (CT) systems and the otherdeals with Discrete-Time (DT) systems. We have used these previously and found them to bevery useful assessment instruments.In this paper, we first review some assessment instruments used previously in the Circuitscourses. We classify the major ideas and concepts that need to be tested. Then we present severalexamples of possible multiple-choice questions designed to test fundamental concepts whichstudents are expected to learn in the Circuits courses.We examine the various concepts tested in each question and relate its importance to a qualityoverall course in Electric Circuits. We will report on the outcomes of these new assessmentinstruments at the conference.Our goal is to develop a repertoire of classic and representative set of problems that test themajor concepts taught in a typical Electric Circuits course. We welcome more additions to thisgrowing repertoire of questions that we plan to build and use in finalizing the ECCI test.

Ogunfunmi, T., & Rahman, M. (2011, June), Concept Inventory Assessment Instruments for Circuits Courses Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC.

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