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Effectively Assessing Student Learning Through Project Experiences

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.583.1 - 12.583.11



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Paper Authors

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Stacy Wilson

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Dennis George

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john bruni

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

Effectively Assessing Student Learning Through Project Experiences Abstract

A goal of Western Kentucky University (WKU) is to engage students during their academic careers. The Electrical Engineering (EE) Program at WKU defines student engagement through project experiences. Many engineering programs use student projects as a means for address a majority of ABET Criteria 3 A-K. This paper will address the effectiveness of projects as a means of student engagement and meeting ABET Criteria 3 A-K. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a popular self-assessment instrument used by many universities. The usefulness of NSSE in assessing ABET Criteria 3 A-K will also be discussed.

The ABET assessment data and the NSSE scores for upper division students will be examined. This paper will take a cross-sectional look at the value of projects in the engineering education process by studying the assessments of faculty and students.


Western Kentucky University (WKU) University prides itself in engaging students across the campus. WKU has developed a Quality Enhancement Plan which states that “Students will engage with communities other than their own in purposeful learning activities that explicitly address their capacity and responsibility to contribute to community and society.“1 Each department across the campus has developed venues for engaging students. One method that the university uses to measure engagement is through the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) which is administered to each freshmen and senior student.

The Department of Engineering at WKU is an ABET accredited program that has a mission of project-based engineering education. The department has chosen to engage students through this type of educational experience. Since the programs in the Department of Engineering are ABET accredited, the ABET criterion must be satisfied. The three programs in the department; civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering; have created individual assessment programs in order to continuously improve the programs. Project courses and design experiences play an integral role in the delivery of the project based courses at WKU. This paper will examine the effectiveness of engagement in increasing student learning in the electrical engineering program while meeting the ABET Criteria 3 A-K requirements. The NSSE scores of the EE students will be compared to the results of the ABET assessment to determine if there is any correlation and if the NSSE is an accurate predictor of EE student engagement.

Definition of Engagement in Western Kentucky University Engineering Programs

The focus of the WKU Department of Engineering is project-based engineering education. An excerpt from departmental mission statement clearly states this focus2: “The mission of the Department of Engineering is to produce, as its graduates, competent engineering practitioners. An engineering practitioner is one who has

Wilson, S., & George, D., & bruni, J. (2007, June), Effectively Assessing Student Learning Through Project Experiences Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2403

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