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Evaluating Student Learning Using Pre And Post Course Assessment

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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

Trends in Construction Engineering II

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.694.1 - 12.694.11



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Paper Authors


Yong Bai University of Kansas

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Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, The University of Kansas. E-mail:

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Oswald Chong University of Kansas

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Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, The University of Kansas. E-mail:

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

Evaluating Student Learning Using Pre- and Post-course Assessment


The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology has implemented new criteria for accrediting engineering programs since 1996. Under new criteria, each program must formulate program outcomes that foster attainment of the program objectives and develop an assessment process that demonstrates that these outcomes are being measured and indicates the degree to which the outcomes are achieved. To meet the ABET’s challenge, a pre- and post-course assessment method has been developed to evaluate the student learning outcomes and implemented in a senior-level construction course entitled Construction Contracts. The concept of pre- and post-course assessment is quite simple. Students are given a pre-course assessment at the beginning of the semester and a post-course assessment at the end of semester. Each assessment includes a set of questions which covers basic topics of the course. During the development process, the objectives of the course were defined first. Then, 25 true-or-false questions, which cover the basic topics of the course, were developed along with instructions for completing the assessment. Finally, 31 students registered in the course took the pre- and post- course assessment and their performances were recorded for data analyses. The results of the analyses provided valuable inside information regarding the student learning and effectiveness of teaching. Furthermore, the results were used to continue improving teaching efforts since the results showed which topics students had difficulty learning and where the instructor should pay closer attentions in the classroom. Based on these facts, a conclusion is derived that the pre- and post-course assessment is an effective method to assess the learning effectiveness and continue improving the instructor’s teaching ability. Because of these features of the pre- and post-course assessment, institutions can use it to demonstrate their performance toward the attainment of ABET’s criteria.


In 1996, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) embarked on a revolutionary accreditation reform effort designed to foster an environment in which each graduate of engineering, technology, computing, and applied science possesses the skills necessary for both lifelong learning and productive contribution to the profession, employers, economy, and society. The centerpiece of this reform was a set of criteria for all ABET disciplines that would allow institutions to be flexible to constituent needs, to allow them to innovate while still maintaining a strong emphasis on educational quality. This reform re- oriented ABET’s accreditation philosophy from institution inputs to student outcomes and encouraged constructive interaction with institution constituents to maintain educational quality and relevance. Based on the Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs published by the ABET and used for 2006-2007 accreditation cycle, there are eight major criteria that an institution shall meet in order to receive accrediting including1: 1) Students, 2) Program Educational Objectives, 3) Program Outcomes and Assessment, 4) Professional Component, 5) Faculty, 6) Facilities, 7) Institutional Support and Financial Resources, and 8) Program Criteria. Under Criterion 3, Program Outcomes and Assessment, ABET specifies eleven (from a to k) attributes that an engineering program must demonstrate that graduates have1:

Bai, Y., & Chong, O. (2007, June), Evaluating Student Learning Using Pre And Post Course Assessment Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3079

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