June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Electrical and Computer
22.544.1 - 22.544.12
Efficacy of Lab Reports for Electric Circuits Laboratory AssessmentAbstractThe traditional instrument for laboratory assessment has been the lab report and wasrecommended as adequate and sufficient method for assessing laboratory skills in a recentreview of engineering education. The goals of an engineering laboratory have been categorizedinto two broad groups: theory and practice-related skills, and communication skills. In order toverify the adequacy and sufficiency of the lab report for engineering laboratory generalizedassessment, a study was designed to contrast the laboratory knowledge and skills of students whoperformed their labs individually with those students who worked in two-member teams. Eachteam submitted a weekly summative lab report. In addition, a final laboratory practicum wasadministered to each student at the end of the semester. This provided a direct measure of theeach student's laboratory knowledge and abilities. The study was performed over fiveconsecutive semesters with the control group (two member lab teams) in the first and lastsemester. The students performed lab exercises individually (solo) in the three interveningsemesters. These final lab practicum results have been reported previously. There was nostatistically significant difference for the final lab practicum scores between the first and lastsemesters (control). In addition, there was no statistical difference in the lab practicum scoreswithin the three solo semesters. However, there was a statistically significant improvement inthe final lab practicum scores for the solo as compared to the control group. The students'performance on the lab practicum was based on their answers to questions regarding laboratoryobservations and measurements. The final laboratory practicum exam, therefore, provided aneffective and verifiable objective metric which sufficiently differentiated between the two-member and solo participation lab groups. Although scoring rubrics were utilized, the lab reportscoring was more subjective than the lab practicum. The control (two-member) lab groupssubmitted a common lab report. The orthogonal orientation in a biplot and correlation testdemonstrated a resultant discordance between the individual lab practicum and lab report scores.Although each individual student submitted their own lab report in the solo group, a similardisassociation between the lab practicum and lab report scores was found. For both the controland solo groups, the practicum served as an objective assessment of each student's retention andapplication of the basic electric circuits laboratory knowledge and skills. The lack ofconcordance between the laboratory report and final lab practicum scores for both the controland the solo groups, confirms that lab reports cannot be considered adequate and sufficient forassessing theory and practice-related laboratory skills. 2Figure 1: Biplot for first control semester Figure 2: Biplot for the solo group. Therepresenting the data points (x) and variables vectors for the pre-lab report and lab report(vectors) projected onto the first two principal grade are nearly coincidental. The cosine ofcomponents from the original five dimensional the angle between vectors provided anspace. estimate of their correlation.Bibliography (Abridged)1. Mann CR. A Study of Engineering Education. New York: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement ofTeaching; 1918. Available at: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/dynamic/publications/elibrary_pdf_765.pdf.2. Feisel LD, Rosa AJ. The Role of the Laboratory in Undergraduate Engineering Education. Journal ofEngineering Education. 2005;94:121-130.3. Sheppard, Sheri D., Macatangay, Kelly, Colby, Anne, Sullivan, William M. Educating Engineers: Designing forthe Future of the Field. Jossey-Bass; 2008.4. Greco EC, Reasoner JD. Student Laboratory Skills and Knowledge Improved Through Individual LabParticipation. In: Proceedings of the 2010 Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education.Louisville, Kentucky: ASEE; 2010.5. Heywood J. Assessment in higher education: student learning, teaching, programmes and institutions. JessicaKingsley Publishers; 2000.6. Hofstein A, Lunetta VN. The laboratory in science education: Foundations for the twenty-first century. ScienceEducation. 2004;88(1):28-54.7. Gibbons JD, Chakraborti S. Nonparametric Statistical Inference. 4th ed. Marcel Dekker; 2003.8. Gower JC, Hand DJ. Biplots. CRC Press; 1996.
Greco, C., & Reasoner, J. D., & Bullock, D., & Castillo, C. L., & Buford, P. S., & richards, G. G. (2011, June), Efficacy of Lab Reports for Electric Circuits Laboratory Assessment Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17825
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