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Development Of A Dynamic Curriculum Assessment Examination

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.190.1 - 4.190.9

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Paper Authors

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John R. Wagner

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David Finley

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

Session 3513

Development of a Dynamic Curriculum Assessment Examination

John Wagner, David Finley

Dr. John J. McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering Tri-State University


Program assessment has become increasingly important for obtaining accreditation. Furthermore, ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 mandates the use of multiple assessment measures. One important objective measure of program performance is a comprehensive examination given to students in their senior year. Many engineering programs now use the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination as this comprehensive examination. While this nationally normalized examination is objective, there are a few significant disadvantages in using the FE as the only comprehensive examination:

• The department loses control over what questions are asked. ABET Criteria 2000 encourages more diversity between engineering programs; however, the FE exam is a “one test fits all” assessment tool.

• Neither the questions nor the detailed results of the FE are distributed to the academic departments.

• The difficulty and emphasis of a particular topic on the FE exam may vary from test to test.

For these and other reasons, the Chemical Engineering program at Tri-State University (TSU) has developed an internal curriculum assessment examination (CAE) that will be given to senior chemical engineering students. This examination contains sixty multiple-choice questions and was derived from the performance-based objectives of the required courses in Chemical Engineering. The examination is dynamic in the sense that most problems are linked to a spreadsheet, so that the parameters in the problem can be easily changed from year to year. This dynamic character of the CAE should help keep the examination secure while still maintaining test to test consistency.

This paper presents the role the CAE plays in TSU’s chemical engineering assessment plan, how the CAE was developed based on curricular objectives, and how the problems were made dynamic. The paper also presents some preliminary student impressions of the examination.

Wagner, J. R., & Finley, D. (1999, June), Development Of A Dynamic Curriculum Assessment Examination Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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