June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.412.1 - 12.412.12
Course Level Assessment and Improvement: Applying Educational Pedagogy to ABET Accreditation
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology’s (ABET) revised criteria for the accreditation of engineering programs, Engineering Criteria 2000, focuses on continuous improvement of program educational outcomes. Programs seeking ABET accreditation must use an assessment strategy in which students demonstrate achievement of clearly-defined, designated criteria. Much of the effort associated with the accreditation process is focused on direct measurements of student learning and relating these data to program outcomes. As such, a large portion of the accreditation process involves assessment in the individual courses within the curriculum and is thus administered by the faculty. This paper describes a novel approach based on educational pedagogy applied at the course level in the programs in the Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering programs at Oregon State University.
An effective assessment is built on a model of cognition that describes how students become competent in a specific subject domain. Therefore, it is useful to make sure such cognitive models are explicitly defined in the ABET process. Casting course level assessment in terms of cognitive models can also help guide faculty in course improvement. To address this issue, modifications of two well-established cognitive models are used, Bloom's taxonomy and Kolb’s learning cycle.
The center of the course level assessment is a course summary that each instructor fills out every time he/she teaches a course. The two cognitive models form an integral part in the course summary. Instructors categorize the learning objectives they have constructed into either lower (knowledge, comprehension, application) or higher (analysis, synthesis, evaluation) cognitive domains, according to Bloom's taxonomy. Based on the cognitive level, they create an assessment plan consisting of three methods to assess each learning objective. Methods of assessment are specifically matched to the cognitive level of the learning objective. Collection of performance evidence becomes increasingly more difficult as increasingly higher-level thinking is required. For each learning objective, instructors plan a set of activities that correlate to each quadrant in Kolb’s learning cycle. Teaching in each quadrant promotes retention, encourages recognition of applications, and serves the diversity of students’ learning styles.
The course summary culminates in an improvement plan based on the instructor’s analysis of the assessment data. As part of the improvement plan, instructors are encouraged to articulate their own preferred model of learning. This process leads to a revised set of activities for the Kolb learning cycle that provides specific changes to improve the course the next time it is taught.
Williamson, K., & Koretsky, M. (2007, June), Course Level Assessment And Improvement: Applying Educational Pedagogy To Abet Accreditation Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2188
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