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Developing and Piloting a Quantitative Assessment Tool for Cybersecurity Courses

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Information and Network Security

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.496.1 - 26.496.13



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Paper Authors


Richard Scott Bell Northwest Missouri State University

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Scott Bell received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Kansas State University in 2014 and his master's degrees in Computer Science in 2000 from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. His B.S., in Geological Engineering, with a minor in Communications, is also from the Missouri University of Science and Technology (1994).

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Eugene Vasserman Kansas State University Orcid 16x16

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Eugene Vasserman received his Ph.D. and master's degrees in Computer Science in 2010 and 2008, respectively, from the University of Minnesota. His B.S., in Biochemistry and Neuroscience with a Computer Science minor, is also from the University of Minnesota (2003). His research interests include secure distributed systems, low-power computing and ad-hoc networking, and security usability. In 2013 he received the NSF CAREER award for work on secure next-generation medical systems.

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Eleanor C Sayre Kansas State University

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Eleanor Sayre is a researcher in physics education, specializing in the intersection of undergraduate students' epistemologies, identity development, and community participation. Her PhD in physics is from the University of Maine, and she is currently an Assistant Professor in the Physics Department at Kansas State University.

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Developing and Piloting a Quantitative Assessment Tool for Cybersecurity CoursesWith the growth of the Internet over the last two decades, the proliferation of network-capablecomputing devices, and the vast quantity of data now being stored exclusively in digital formats,developing a workforce capable of securing communication channels and information storage hasbecome a critical task for government entities, businesses, and individuals. This growth in demandfor cybersecurity professionals has occurred so rapidly that the academic pipeline is struggling tokeep up. While individual instructors attempt to identify best-practices within their classrooms,there is need for an assessment tool which can measure student outcomes from those courses, pro-viding a quantitative comparison of student outcomes between courses, and thus helping educatorsidentify approaches and content which produce the best outcomes.This paper presents the second stage in our work to develop an assessment tool designed to measurestudent interest and self-efficacy in relation to cybersecurity. The instrument we have developedis based on results from a previous qualitative study of students enrolled in an introductory cyber-security course, presented in [citation removed for reviewing process]. The survey is designed tomeasure student interest in further study, research and/or work in cybersecurity and student self-efficacy in relation to cybersecurity [3, 1, 2]. A pilot study of the survey was administered duringSpring, 2014, and initial results show that we are able to differentiate between students enrolled ina general Computer Science course and those enrolled in an elective cybersecurity course as wellas measure changes in student interest/self-efficacy over the course of a semester. Data collectionis now it its second round and the analysis from both rounds will be presented in this paper. Wewill also discuss ongoing and future activities in this project.References[1] A. Bandura, C. Barbaranelli, G. V. Caprara, and C. Pastorelli. Self-Efficacy Beliefs as Shapers of Children’s Aspirations and Career Trajectories. Child Development, 72(1):187–206, 2001.[2] H. Fencl and K. Scheel. Engaging Students: An Examination of the Effects of Teaching Strategies on Self-Efficacy and Course Climate in a Nonmajors Physics Course. Journal of College Science Teaching, 35(1):20, 2005.[3] V. Ramalingam and S. Wiedenbeck. Development and validation of scores on a computer programming self- efficacy scale and group analyses of novice programmer self-efficacy. Journal of Educational Computing Re- search, 19(4):367–381, 1998. 1

Bell, R. S., & Vasserman, E., & Sayre, E. C. (2015, June), Developing and Piloting a Quantitative Assessment Tool for Cybersecurity Courses Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23835

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