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Error Tracking: An Assessment Tool For Small Enrollment Courses

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Student Learning and Assessment

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.582.1 - 14.582.10



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Paper Authors


Anne-Marie Lerner University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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Anne-Marie Lerner is a first-year assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin - Platteville collaborative program located at the University of Wisconsin - Rock County. Her research interests include assessment, engineering education, K-12 outreach, speech processing, and semiactive vibration control. She received her PhD in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008.

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

Error Tracking: An Assessment Tool for Small-Enrollment Courses Introduction:

A program undergoing ABET accreditation must institute a procedure of assessing student outcome1. This is often done in class-by-class analysis. Instructors teaching large-enrollment classes have enough students that statistically significant assessment data can be collected without significant hardship to the professor. For small-enrollment classes, the same assessment data may not provide any meaningful information, as there may or may not be enough data points to derive statistically significant conclusions. A novel method of assessment comprised of categorizing and tracking individual errors is presented and discussed in this paper as a means of assessing students in small-enrollment classes.


A method of error tracking was developed in order to assess students in small-enrollment classes at a university collaborative program at another location. The collaborative program began in 2005 in a city; two electrical engineering faculty members and one mechanical engineering faculty member work on-site at the host university and offer primarily night and evening classes to place-bound students. The electrical engineering program was started up first, where courses began being offered in 2006; mechanical engineering began in the fall semester of 2008. While students stay on the host campus to take their courses, they receive a degree-granting institution’s degree upon completion of their coursework. The host university courses must be offered in such a way so as to provide an equivalent education to the courses offered directly on the degree granting institution’s main campus. Furthermore, to maintain ABET accreditation, the assessment must show an equivalent education.

This program is designed to provide educations to place-bound, nontraditional students, many of whom cannot support a full-time student load. Furthermore, many students who enter into the program may have to take classes such as college algebra or even more remedial math. While the overall engineering program has over sixty students enrolled in it, with over twenty listed as mechanical engineering students, very few students have the necessary prerequisite math to be able to directly enroll for mechanical engineering courses. As a consequence, for the first semester of mechanical engineering offerings, thermodynamics had an enrollment of six students, and engineering materials saw an enrollment of three students. The average enrollment of an on-campus offering of thermodynamics is 25 per class, whereas engineering materials has an average enrollment of 43 students per class offering.

Lerner, A. (2009, June), Error Tracking: An Assessment Tool For Small Enrollment Courses Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5524

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