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Cost Of Assessment In Engineering Technology Programs

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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

15.326.1 - 15.326.13



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Paper Authors


Alberto Gomez-Rivas University of Houston-Downtown

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Alberto Gomez-Rivas is Professor of Structural Analysis/Design Engineering Technology. Dr. Gomez-Rivas received Ph.D. degrees from the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, in Civil Engineering and a Ph.D. from Rice University, Houston, Texas, in Economics. He received the Ingeniero Civil degree, with Honors, from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. He also served as Chief of Colombia’s Department of Transportation Highway Bridge Division. Dr. Gomez-Rivas has published over 40 journal articles and is a Registered Professional Engineer.

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Lea Campbell University of Houston, Downtown

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Lea Campbell is the Director of Academic Assessment at University of Houston Downtown. Dr. Campbell received her PhD from the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, in Higher Education Administration and a BA and MS in Mathematics from Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico. Prior to joining University of Houston Downtown, Dr. Campbell was the Associate Vice Chancellor for Developmental Education at City Colleges of Chicago. She has published articles and text books on developmental mathematics, technical communications and strategies for improving student success.

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George Pincus University of Houston, Downtown

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George Pincus, Ph.D., P.E., is Dean of the College of Sciences and Technology, and Professor of Engineering Technology at the University of Houston-Downtown (1996-date). He earned a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (with honors) and Master of Science in Civil Engineering degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Cornell University. Dr. Pincus is a Life Member of ASEE and a Life Member of ASCE. He is currently registered in Texas, New Jersey and Kentucky. He is the author or co-author of 3 books and has published over 50 refereed papers.

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

Costs of Assessment in Engineering Technology Programs


Assessment of outcomes recently became a critical activity for engineering technology departments after TAC/ABET changed from compliance of their traditional requirements to assessment of learning outcomes. ABET started requiring outcomes assessment at the engineering level earlier and only later implemented the same requirement for engineering technology programs.

Engineering technology departments began by trying to meet the new TAC/ABET requirement by copying assessment models used at engineering departments of universities with several decades of assessment experience. However, this was usually done without careful consideration of resources availability; and what is more important, the total costs associated with outcomes assessment. Description of assessment methods is plentiful in the literature but on the other hand, the literature is also rather poor on determining the true cost of assessing learning outcomes at institutions of higher education. The few available studies on this subject reveal costs that are usually a complete surprise to many faculty and administrators.

The cost factor is especially critical for engineering technology programs trying to adapt assessment methods used by larger and wealthier departments. On the other hand these departments can assess their outcomes by methods that are not available to other disciplines due to the specialized mission of engineering technology programs. The paper looks at the costs of assessment activities and the alternatives available for engineering technology taking in consideration the cost factor that is critical for the success of the development and implementation of continuous assessment of outcomes. The results of this study should yield useful information and suggestions for engineering technology departments seeking positive accreditation action under current TAC/ABET guidelines.


Assessment of academic outcomes and objectives is a new activity for most engineering technology departments. The activity referred to as “assessment” in this paper is the academic version of industrial quality control familiar to engineers working in industry. This view of assessment helps faculty members with an engineering background and industrial experience to better understand costs, goals, and operative requirements of assessment. Faculty of engineering technology departments working on assessment should keep in mind the relationship with quality control in order to evaluate resources, costs, goals and other hidden details of assessment.

Assessment of outcomes became a critical activity for engineering departments in 2000 when ABET changed their traditional requirements for accreditation to outcomes-based which requires assessment of learning outcomes (or quality control). The Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of ABET also started requiring outcomes assessment of programs soon thereafter.

Gomez-Rivas, A., & Campbell, L., & Pincus, G. (2010, June), Cost Of Assessment In Engineering Technology Programs Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16491

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