June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.549.1 - 12.549.10
Direct Assessment of Mechanics of Materials Learning with Concept Inventory Introduction
This paper presents a tool for direct formative assessment and the results of continuous improvement activities in teaching mechanics of material topics in a mechanical engineering technology program. The tool is a beta version of a concept inventory assessment1 and, as such, is a mid-term multiple-choice quiz with conceptual questions rather than procedural questions.
Feedback from the tool is provided to the students in a non-threatening manner so they can assess their understanding of the topics and identify areas for improvement. Instructors can use the results for continuous improvement of topic coverage in the courses. To date, the assessment has been conducted for the same group of students in their junior and senior years as a longitudinal design2. It has also been conducted on a subsequent group of students in their junior year as a baseline-data design2. The results of the assessments are provided and discussed along with continuous improvement activities in each course.
Recent criteria for ABET accreditation requires an assessment of learning objectives and outcomes3. Monitoring the learning process4, 5 is a key part of continuous improvement of higher education. Many forms of assessment6, 7 are currently being developed to monitor the leaning process. Concept inventories8 have become a popular form of assessing students’ conceptual knowledge of important topics. Concept inventory assessment tools have been or are being developed for engineering topics such as force9, dynamics10, heat transfer11, fluid mechanics12, etc. This work presents a concept inventory for direct formative assessment of student learning in mechanics of materials.
Often, assessment activities have been indirect in that they question or survey students on their perception of their ability to meet course objectives which can obviously produce some subjective results. Currently, ABET accreditation requires more direct assessment of learning outcomes to provide more objective results and, in turn, better direction for continuous improvement activities. The accreditation requirement of direct assessment rather than indirect assessment is a valuable one which is certainly expected to continue.
At Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, the focus of the mechanical engineering technology program is applied design. As a result of this focus and industrial advisory board input, the curriculum has a strong and sometimes repetitive emphasis on relatively advanced topics in mechanics of materials such as three-dimensional Hooke’s Law and transformation of stress and/or strain. Students are exposed to these advanced topics in more than one course and by different instructors. In an effort to satisfy each instructor’s procedural requirements, students often do not comprehend the underlying concepts and even develop misconceptions about the topics. As they lack comprehension of the underlying concepts, they may even perceive a contradiction of the concepts as taught by different instructors.
Sweeney, S., & Englund, R., & Edwards, R. (2007, June), Direct Assessment Of Mechanics Of Materials Learning With Concept Inventory Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1789
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