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Experiences Using Cooperative Work Assignments for Outcomes Assessment

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

CEED Paper Session 1: Using Co-Op and Internships to Improve Diversity, Retention, Learning, and Assessment

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

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Paper Authors


Timothy J. Garrison York College of Pennsylvania

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Timothy Garrison is Chair of the Engineering and Computer Science Department at York College of Pennsylvania.

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Wayne Blanding York College of Pennsylvania

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Wayne Blanding received his B.S. degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, ocean engineer degree from the MIT/Woods Hole Joint program in ocean engineering, and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Connecticut. From 1982 to 2002, he was an officer in the U.S. Navy’s submarine force. He is currently an Associate Professor and coordinator of the electrical and computer engineering program at York College of Pennsylvania. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE. He was Publications Chair for the 2009 and 2011 International Conferences on Information Fusion, and is in the Publications Committee for the IEEE Aerospace Conference (2008-present). His research interests include target tracking, detection and estimation.

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At the authors’ institution, all engineering students are required to complete three semesters of full-time cooperative work experience. For each co-op assignment, three different metrics are used to evaluate the experience, and each metric has been designed to gather program assessment data. Metric 1: Approximately mid semester, a faculty member visits each student at their employment site, meeting with both the student and their supervisor(s). At the site visit, the faculty member collects assessment data on the student’s performance, how well the institution has prepared the student, and educational areas that the employer feels can be improved. Feedback gathered during the faculty member’s visit is recorded using a common report template. Metric 2: At the end of the co-op assignment, the students complete an online, self-evaluation of their experience. A significant portion of the student self-evaluation is focused on assessment of the ABET outcomes. For each program outcome, the students are asked to rate how important the outcome was to their job assignment, how prepared they were to apply the outcome, and how much their co-op experience contributed to development of the skills in the outcome. Metric 3: Also at the completion of the co-op assignment, the student’s supervisors complete an online survey. The employer survey focuses exclusively on collecting data related to the ABET program outcomes. Analogous to the student self-evaluations, the employers are asked to state the importance of each program outcome, how prepared the students were to apply the outcome, and the extent to which they observed further development of the skill. At the close of each semester, numerical data along with written comments from all three metrics are compiled in summary reports for use in program assessment and continuous improvement. Such data have been collected over the past 10 years and serve as the cornerstone for assessing the institution’s engineering programs. The paper will include the following: an overview of the institution’s co-op process; details on the forms and methods used to collect the data; illustrative data collected over the past 10 years; insights and lessons learned; illustrative examples of how the data have been used for continuous improvement; and summary feedback from ABET program evaluators.

Garrison, T. J., & Blanding, W. (2016, June), Experiences Using Cooperative Work Assignments for Outcomes Assessment Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26820

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