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Effects of a New Assessment Model on Female and Underrepresented Minority Students

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Assessment Strategies in Mechanics

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Geoffrey Recktenwald Michigan State University

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Geoff Recktenwald is a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University. Geoff holds a PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University and Bachelor degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from Cedarville University. His research interests are focused on best practices for student learning and student success. He is currently developing and researching SMART assessment, a modified mastery learning pedagogy for problem based courses. He created and co-teaches a multi-year integrated system design (ISD) project for mechanical engineering students. He is a mentor to mechanical engineering graduate teaching fellows and actively champions the adoption and use of teaching technologies.

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Michele J. Grimm Michigan State University

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Michele J. Grimm is the Wielenga Creative Engineering Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering. In addition to her scientific research, Dr. Grimm has spent a large part of her career focused on curriculum development and enhancement of student learning in engineering. She served on the faculty of Wayne State University for 25 years, where she developed and implemented both undergraduate and graduate programs in biomedical engineering and helped to establish a department of biomedical engineering. Her endowed professorship at MSU focuses on research to increase the success of students in engineering through creative pedagogical techniques.

Dr. Grimm completed her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at The Johns Hopkins University in 1990 and her Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 1994.

She has just finished a 3-year rotation as a program director for three BME-related programs at the National Science Foundation. She is also completing her 5-year appointment as a commissioner with ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

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Ron Averill Michigan State University

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Ron Averill joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 1992. He currently serves as the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research focus is on pedagogy, design optimization of large and complex systems, and design for sustainable agriculture.

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Sara Roccabianca Michigan State University Orcid 16x16

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Sara Roccabianca is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University (MSU). She was born and raised in Verona, Italy and received her B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Trento, Italy. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Trento in 2011. She then was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, working on cardiovascular mechanics.
Sara’s research at MSU focuses on urinary bladder mechanics and growth and remodeling associated with bladder outlet obstruction (e.g., posterior urethral valves in newborn boys or prostate benign hyperplasia in men over the age of 60). Her goals are to (i) develop a micro-structurally motivated mechanical model to describe the non-linear elastic behavior of the urinary bladder wall, (ii) develop a stress-mediated model of urinary bladder adaptive response, and (iii) understand the fundamental mechanisms that correlate the mechanical environment and the biological process of remodeling in the presence of an outlet obstruction.

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The authors have developed and implemented a new assessment model in Engineering Mechanics courses. The effects of this new approach have been very positive, including an increase in final exam mean scores of approximately 30 points (out of 100) compared to a more traditional assessment model in a Mechanics of Materials course. These results have been presented in full at a prior ASEE Conference.

In this paper, we focus on the effects of this new assessment model on the performance of female engineering students. We have thus far studied the results from one semester. These results indicate that the performance of women is almost identical to that of men in this new model, and this is this case for either a female or a male instructor.

We are currently extracting and evaluating the data from additional semesters of Mechanics of Materials and Dynamics, including the current one that ends in December 2019. The analysis will focus on the performance of male and female students on a common final exam, graded with a strict and concise rubric that emphasizes mastery of concepts and problem solving skills. The study will account for other measures such as incoming GPA and performance in the prerequisite course, Statics.

Recktenwald, G., & Grimm, M. J., & Averill, R., & Roccabianca, S. (2020, June), Effects of a New Assessment Model on Female and Underrepresented Minority Students Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34507

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