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Educational Outcomes Assessment: Framing Resolving Ill Defined Problems

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.172.1 - 1.172.11



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Paper Authors

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Lt Col Rosario Nici

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Col John Russell

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

I .—. Session 1615


Col John Russell, Vice Commander Air Force Institute of Technology Lt Col Rosario Nici, Department of Astronautics Lt Col Charles Hudlin , Department of Philosophy and Fine Arts Lt Col Donna Peterson, Department of Electric Engineering Lt Col Steve Slate, Department of Economics and Geography Maj Rick Abderhalden, Department of Management Maj Mavis Compagno, Department of Computer Sciences Dr Mary Marlino, Center for Educational Excellence Col David Porter, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership United States Air Force Academy

This paper discusses the initial assessment of our students’ ability to frame and resolve ill-defined problems. It outlines the development and administration of the assessment instrument, scoring procedures, and preliminary results. The problem used for this assessment was presented as an Air Force deployment scenario and students were given 12 minutes to develop a response. They were allowed another 12 minutes to continue and/or reflect on their thinking and problem resolution. This was followed by 15 minutes of discussion to provide feedback and closure for the students and administrators. All 436 responses were scored and demographic information, which was not available to the raters, allowed an assessment of subgroups. Preliminary investigations suggested that student performance was not affected by gender or time of day. Effects of general academic performance (i.e., GPA) or choice of major had smaller than expected correlation. Additional research to examine convergence between scores on this instrument and other more standard measures is needed.


One of the educational outcomes for graduates of the United States Air Force Academy is the ability to frame and resolve ill-defined problems (see Appendix A). Air Force Officers are confronted with problems that do not always have “approved solutions.” A graduate maybe expected to address tactical employment and deployment problems, resource allocation concerns, and organizational leadership issues. Frequently, inadequate or conflicting data is all that is available. A decision which will have real consequences is required in a relatively short time. Sometimes graduates must extend simplified models and methods to the complex situations characteristic of the real world. At the same time, graduates must also recognize the limits of their simplified models, identify the significance of the . /’”2% ~qa~~ 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings ‘O.plyy’;

Nici, L. C. R., & Russell, C. J. (1996, June), Educational Outcomes Assessment: Framing Resolving Ill Defined Problems Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6002

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