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Homework As An Outcome Assessment: Relationships Between Homework And Test Performance

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Factors Affecting Student Performance

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.689.1 - 11.689.18



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Paper Authors


Abel Fernandez University of the Pacific

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Abel A. Fernandez is Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of the Pacific. He received degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic (B.S., Electric Power Engineering; M.E., Electric Power Engineering; MBA) and the University of Central Florida (Ph.D., Industrial Engineering). Prior to joining academia, he held positions of system engineer and Director of Product Marketing with the Harris Corporation, Florida. In 2000, he joined the University of the Pacific as Director of the Engineering Management Program.

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Camilla Saviz University of the Pacific

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Camilla M. Saviz, Ph.D., P.E., holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from U.C. Davis. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of the Pacific. Dr. Saviz' research interests include measurement and modeling of hydrodynamics, water quality, and sediment transport in surface water systems. She has also served as co-principal investigator on several studies to develop and implement strategies to enhance the quality of engineering education.

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Jeff Burmeister University of the Pacific

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Jeffrey S. Burmeister earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware in 1988 and his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Duke University in 1995. He has been a faculty member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of the Pacific since 2002 and presently is Assistant Professor and Director of the Bioengineering Program.

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

Homework as an Outcome Assessment: Relationships Between Homework and Test Performance


Homework imposes a significant load on undergraduate engineering students and faculty, and typically represents 10 to 30 percent of a student’s final course grade. One of the fundamental purposes of homework is to help students master the course material, mastery ultimately assessed through quizzes, tests and a final examination. To understand whether homework grades are a significant factor in determining student performance on tests, a study was conducted to examine the correlation between individual student scores on homework, quizzes, tests and final examination. Data from four courses taught by three different instructors showed very weak correlation between homework and quiz, test or final examination scores, respectively; much stronger correlations were found between quiz, tests and final examinations. Multiple linear regressions were developed for three courses, with quiz and test scores found to be the only statistically significant predictors of final examination performance (homework was found not to be a statistically significant predictor). Study results indicate that graded homework may potentially not be an effective means of enhancing student performance on tests. Areas of potential future research extensions are discussed.


Engineering Mechanics I (Statics) is typically among the first core engineering courses taken by students, and thus represents a critical educational career juncture. Yet, over the past year approximately 50% of students taking Statics at the University of the Pacific got a course grade of D+ or below, despite getting very high homework assignment grades. This seeming contradiction prompted a study to examine, at an individual student level, the relationships between homework assignment grades and traditional course performance outcome measures; i.e., quizzes, tests and final examination.

Substantial homework is dogmatically accepted as an indispensable component of engineering courses. Faculty reflect on their own education and proudly maintain a traditionally heavy homework load as a rite of passage, while students resignedly accept the heavy workload as part of the cost of entering into the engineering profession. The nature of engineering, as with other hard sciences, is such that conceptual and practical understanding comes from applying principles and techniques to solve problems1. To provide incentive for students to practice problem solving, assigned homework is typically collected, graded and returned to students. Contemporary pedagogical thinking, however, focuses not on teaching “to tradition” but rather on achieving student learning outcomes: a process should be established that defines desired learning outcomes,

Fernandez, A., & Saviz, C., & Burmeister, J. (2006, June), Homework As An Outcome Assessment: Relationships Between Homework And Test Performance Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--41

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