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Course Level Assessment And Improvement: Applying Educational Pedagogy To Abet Accreditation

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

ChE: Assessment

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.412.1 - 12.412.12



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Paper Authors


Kenneth Williamson

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Kenneth J. Williamson is presently Department Head of both Chemical Engineering and Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. He serves as Associate Director of the Western Region Hazardous Substance Research Center. Dr. Williamson’s research interests are in hazardous substance management and bioremediation.

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Milo Koretsky Oregon State University

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Milo Koretsky is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. He currently has research activity in areas related to thin film materials processing and engineering education. He is author of the text Engineering and Chemical Thermodynamics, which includes an integrated, menu driven computer program ThermoSolver. He is interested in integrating technology into effective education practices and in promoting the use of higher level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. Dr. Koretsky is a six-time Intel Faculty Fellow and has won awards for his work in engineering education at the university and national levels.

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

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. 10.18260/1-2--2188

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