Asee peer logo

Continuous Quality Control And Improvement: An Engineering Depiction Of A Confounded Simple Concept

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Innovations in biological and agricultural engineering education

Tagged Division

Biological & Agricultural

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.403.1 - 12.403.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Jinglu Tan University of Missouri

Download Paper |

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

Continuous Quality Control and Improvement: An Engineering Depiction of a Confounded Simple Concept


Criteria 2 and 3 of the EC 2000 have been extensively explained by professionals but engineers often find the literature very confusing because of inconsistent uses of terms and sometimes convoluted representations of the necessary actions. In this paper, the two Criteria are depicted as a dual-loop feedback control system and the terminologies interpreted in terms of process control and quality assurance. This helps remove the mystifications over an originally simple concept and makes the criteria easily understandable to engineers. Application of the representation helped faculty understand the criteria and facilitated the implementation process.


The Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC 2000) represents a major paradigm shift in engineering program assessment and accreditation. The major changes are reflected in Criteria 2 and 3. Criterion 2 requires that an accredited engineering program establish a set of program educational objectives consistent with the institutional missions and have a process in place to evaluate the objectives and the attainment of them. Criterion 3 calls for an accredited program to formulate a set of program outcomes that support its educational objectives, to assess periodically the level of achievement of the outcomes, and to use the assessment results for further improvement of the program [1].

The central idea behind Criteria 2 and 3 is not new. It is simply the concept of assessment and improvement routinely used in quality control and other fields. Since it is a change from the traditional prescriptive approach, it has generated tremendous discussions. Numerous papers have been published, expert lectures given and workshops held; but most faculty members find the literature more puzzling than enlightening. Aside from a lack of prior experiences in education program assessment by engineering faculty, some particularly confusing aspects of the accreditation literature include: (1) the bewildering assortment of terms (objectives, outcomes, outcome indicators, performance targets, inputs, processes, outputs etc. [4]), (2) the inconsistent use of normally interchangeable terms such as goals, outcomes and objectives to mean different things [2], and (3) the perplexing (to engineers) representations of the implied relationships and entailed actions. As Rogers [5] recognizes, confusion over the language of assessment discourages the faculty from getting engaged in the assessment process. A program faculty is a discourse community that speaks a particular language. Educational assessment professionals do not necessarily use the language of their discipline consistently in communicating with those outside their discipline [5]. Indeed, the language differences have contributed to the confusion over an originally simple concept.

Tan, J. (2007, June), Continuous Quality Control And Improvement: An Engineering Depiction Of A Confounded Simple Concept Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1858

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: © 2007 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