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Evaluation Of Computer Based Assessment Methods For Engineering Courses

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Developments in Chem Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.597.1 - 10.597.7



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Paper Authors

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Oliver Sitton

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Neil Book

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

Evaluation of Computer-Based Assessment Methods for Engineering Courses

Neil L. Book and Oliver C. Sitton Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering University of Missouri-Rolla


Several computer-based assessment methods have been used in chemical engineering classes at the University of Missouri-Rolla. This experience provides the basis for an evaluation of the technology and human factors involved in the application of these methods.

From the student’s perspective, the major strength of computer-based assessments is the instantaneous feedback that is provided. From the instructor’s perspective, the major strengths are twofold: 1) rapid grading and 2) individualized assessments. The major drawbacks for the students are the loss of partial credit and the insecurity associated with working in a virtual environment. Faculty find that the time required to construct effective computer-based assessments is much greater than that for paper-based assessments. Unfortunately, the increase in construction time can be greater than the reduction in grading time. With the current technology, it is extremely difficult to develop large, multi-step problems requiring problem analysis and solution synthesis skills without leading the student to the answer. This, of course, defeats the purpose of the assessment for this type of problem.


The technology for implementing computer-based assessments is rapidly evolving. As technological shortcomings are identified, they are quickly eliminated. Thus, difficulties with human factors are more important for long-term implementation than technological shortcomings. Students are very comfortable with the technology and adapt to its usage very rapidly. However, the technology is not perfectly reliable and this leads to insecurity for both the student and the instructor. Instructors seek technology that enhances learning. This enhancement is most useful if it comes with modest increases in time and effort and with technology that is user-friendly. The benefits of active learning in various forms (active learning, collaborative learning, cooperative learning, and problem-based learning) are well-documented6. However, active

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Sitton, O., & Book, N. (2005, June), Evaluation Of Computer Based Assessment Methods For Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15190

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