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Correlation Between "Ethical Issues" and "Grade" Performance in a Graduate Class

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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

General Topics in Graduate Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.385.1 - 22.385.11



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Paper Authors


Robert M. Brooks Temple University

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Dr. Robert M. Brooks is an Associate Professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Temple University. He is a registered professional engineer in PA and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. His research interests are Civil Engineering Materials, Transportation Engineering, and Engineering Education.

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Naji Khoury Temple University


Jyothsna K. S. St. Joseph's College, Bangalore, Department of English

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Secured a gold Medal for the highest aggregate marks in the Post Graduate English Literature Course at St. Joseph's College (Autonomous). Working for the Department of English, St. Joseph's College for almost an year now, teaching both undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in English. Published papers in intramural and extramural publications. Presented papers at several conventions, conferences and seminars.

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Amithraj Amavasai

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Teaching  Ethics  for  preparing  graduate  students  for  engineering  practice  Ethics is an important subject which is commonly faced in engineering practice. However, veryfew graduate classes teach ethics as a significant part of their class. In Spring 2009 a graduatecourse in “Geotechincal Engineering” was taught using a traditional lecture method. This wasused as a control group. In Fall 2010 an innovative group was taught with ethics replacing 5% ofthe grade from the final exam. The students are taught that the ethical issues are multithronged.The answers need to address many different areas simultaneously. In making the decisions thestudents are not expected to write a "yes or no", "right or wrong" answer. The students need todeal with many variables in order to improve the overall condition of the existing situation.Twenty case studies were taught involving various scenarios. These are commonly facedproblems in engineering practice. Individual assignments were graded consisting of 5% of thegrade. Except the 10% (5% assignments and 5% final exam component) grade there was nodifference between the traditional group and control group.Performance of the control group was compared with that of the ethics group. The averagecourse grades for the control group and the ethics groups were 76 and 84 respectively. The ethicsgroup showed 10.5% improvement over the control group. With a calculated t value of 3.4 in atwo-tailed test, both groups are significantly different. The improvement of the ethics group wasstatistically significant at an alpha value of 0.05.At the end of semester a survey was conducted to determine how strongly the students felt abouttheir preparation on ethics to face engineering practice. The control group scored an averagescore of 67% while the ethics group scored 78%. The ethics group showed 16.4% improvementover the control group. With a calculated t value of 2.9 in a two-tailed test, both groups aresignificantly different. The improvement of the ethics group was statistically significant at analpha value of 0.05.The authors plan to extend this strategy to two other courses over the next three years. Themethod presented in this study may be used at other institutions with appropriate modificationsin order to prepare the students on ethics for facing the engineering practice .

Brooks, R. M., & Khoury, N., & S., J. K., & Amavasai, A. (2011, June), Correlation Between "Ethical Issues" and "Grade" Performance in a Graduate Class Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17666

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