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Development Of A Problem Test Bank For Linear Circuits And Its Implications For Improving Learning And The Assessment Of Student Learning

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Assessment Issues

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Page Numbers

7.412.1 - 7.412.6

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Charles Yokomoto

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Maher Rizkalla

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Session 3130

Development of a Problem Test Bank for Linear Circuits and Its Implications for Improving Learning and the Assessment of Student Learning Charles F. Yokomoto, Maher E. Rizkalla Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

I. Introduction In this paper, we describe an on-going project that is taking place in our department whose goals are to establish some uniformity in the assessment of student learning across sections in our introductory linear circuit analysis course, to promote an understanding in the culture of our department of the different levels of cognitive complexity of traditional textbook problems, and to develop a shared understanding of the relationship between traditional course letter grades and these levels. In order to facilitate this discussion, we have developed a large bank of exam problems that will serve several other purposes in addition to the facilitation of the discussions, such as (1) for creating exams for different sections by selecting problems that have been reviewed by a faculty committee for their effectiveness in assessing student learning for ABET assessment purposes, (2) for use in our assessment of problem solving skills and critical thinking for our campus general education assessment, and (3) for use in a coaching program to move students to higher levels of the cognitive skills that are essential for problem solving.

As part of the project, faculty members who have taught the course will review and rate them according to their level of overall difficulty and level of cognitive complexity according to taxonomy of problem solving based on the Dean and Plants problem solving taxonomy [1]. The involvement of the faculty committee in rating the problems is our first attempt at developing a level of shared understanding among faculty of the level of performance in problem solving and critical thinking that we expect of our students. Until the initiation of this project, instructors acted as autonomous agents in determining the difficulty of their exams.

II. Motivation For The Project Currently, the traditional means for assessing student learning in textbook courses is the traditional pencil-and-paper problem-solving exam, and faculty have not incorporated the assessment of student learning on any scale of complexity such as the Dean and Plants taxonomy of problem solving [1] or Bloom’s levels of cognitive complexity [2]. Faculty and part-time instructors teaching multiple sections of the same course were autonomous agents in writing problems and assigning grades. While autonomy will still be a principle that is followed in making exams and assigning grades, the faculty team agreed that the teaching/learning process as well as the fairness in the assignment of grades would be improved if we conducted faculty discussions that led to a common understanding of the levels of performance we expected from students, both for the

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Yokomoto, C., & Rizkalla, M. (2002, June), Development Of A Problem Test Bank For Linear Circuits And Its Implications For Improving Learning And The Assessment Of Student Learning Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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