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Correlating Students' Evaluations Of Their Learning With Class Performance

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Assessing Teaching and Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.331.1 - 7.331.12



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Paper Authors

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Craig Somerton

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

Main Menu Session 3530

Correlating Student's Evaluation of their Learning with Class Performance

Craig W. Somerton Department of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University

Abstract Results of a study comparing student surveys of their achievement of a course’s learning objectives with the class performance on these learning objectives through graded assignments are presented. The correlation between the two is not as strong as might be expected, though when presented in quartile fashion the student’s perception of their learning as represented by the survey results compares favorably with their achievement on graded assignments.

Introduction As part of the its response to Engineering Criteria 2000, each undergraduate course in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University has a published set of course learning objectives (CLO). At the end of each semester, students complete a course learning objective questionnaire in addition to the university’s Student Instructional Rating System (SIRS) form, which is the primary tool used to assess teaching at the university. The course learning objective questionnaire asks the students to evaluate their achievement of the course learning objectives. However, this may not be a true indication of their achievement. In an attempt to assess how true an indicator the CLO survey results are with respect to student learning, a study was undertaken to compare the students' assessment of their learning with their class performance. This study is the focus of this paper.

This paper continues by presenting the course learning objectives for the course used in this study. Next the measurement of students’ achievement of the course learning objectives using graded assignments is explained. A comparison of the survey results with the class performance is then presented and discussed. Final remarks conclude the paper.

Course Learning Objectives For this study a senior level course in heat transfer (ME 410) was chosen. It is a three credit semester course, meeting three days a week for fifty minutes each class session. The course is required for all mechanical engineering majors, and its topical coverage is typical of the required heat transfer course in most mechanical engineering programs. The class was taught in one large section of fifty-five (55) students. The complete set of course learning objectives for the course is shown in Figure 1. These were developed by the faculty that routinely teach the course approximately one year prior to the department's last ABET visit. It will be clear to heat transfer instructors that some of these objectives are not appropriate or are not worded appropriately. This is due to the faculty’s inexperience in writing course learning objectives. At the end of each semester, students are asked to evaluate their achievement of the course learning objectives. Simultaneously, this form is also used by the college to gather the student assessment of teaching. This form allows for eighteen supplemental questions that are utilized for the course Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Somerton, C. (2002, June), Correlating Students' Evaluations Of Their Learning With Class Performance Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11297

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