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Evaluation And Outcomes Assessment During The Semester: Putting Course Learning Objectives To Work

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Assessment in EM Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.534.1 - 7.534.8



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David Cottrell

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Session 3642

Evaluation and Outcomes Assessment During the Semester: Putting Course Learning Objectives to Work

David S. Cottrell Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg

I. Introduction

In recent years, much has been written about the requirement to perform outcomes and objective assessments to evaluate the strengths of ABET accredited programs in all engineering disciplines including engineering management. In particular, the criteria for accrediting engineering technology programs stipulates that programs must demonstrate that graduates have a commitment to quality, timeliness, and continuous improvement (Technology Accreditation Commission, page 33). At the program level or at the individual student level, a commitment to continuous educational process improvement characterized by routine, outcomes assessment has evolved to become one of the key elements of success for engineering and engineering technology programs alike. This article examines the application of the principal of outcomes assessment during a course dealing with topics very typical of engineering and construction management related curricula – construction planning, budgeting, and scheduling. Just as program and graduate assessments rely on well defined outcomes, goals, and objectives, this article presents a program of student assessments and performance oriented teaching based on clear, published course learning objectives. These internal course assessments effectively ascertained the level of student learning and provided an array of interactive teaching techniques that created opportunities to correct diagnosed student deficiencies in learning that served to rapidly realign the student back within course expectations.

This paper initially discusses the methodology employed to quantify the level of individual student mastery of specific learning objectives during the course, to initiate additional instruction as required, and to revalidate improved skills. A set of well developed learning objectives is paramount to the success of this program and is presented here as an example of engineering management related learning objectives that contain precisely defined, measurable, objective criteria for assessment. In a course that builds cumulatively on previous material covered in the classroom, student performance on a particular block of instruction often indicates the student’s degree of preparation for the next block of instruction; consequently, poor performance may warrant additional exposure to the material. Assessments during the course at the conclusion of each block of instruction provided an effective vehicle for evaluating student skills. The paper presents specific examples of learning objectives that were linked to graded exercises and exams. Final course assessments were performed through both

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Cottrell, D. (2002, June), Evaluation And Outcomes Assessment During The Semester: Putting Course Learning Objectives To Work Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10765

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