Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 24, 2001
June 24, 2001
June 27, 2001
6.559.1 - 6.559.13
Implementing classroom outcomes assessment (TAC) with commercially available software. A Computerized Approach to Outcomes Assessment A Pilot Study
Bill Drake, Ph.D., Southwest Missouri State University Douglas Walcerz, Ph.D., Enable Technologies, Inc.
The Industrial Management program at Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU) has begun the process of designing and implementing an outcomes assessment process for to continuous improvement of the programs and in preparation for accreditation by the National Association of Industrial Technology. The university contracted with Enable Technologies, Inc., to conduct a pilot study using EnableOA, which is a Web-based, software-driven assessment process. The study involved two courses TEC 110 – Fundamentals of Engineering Drafting and TEC 250 – Industrial Safety in the Fall semester 2000. Two additional courses, TEC 237 – Mechanics/Statics and TEC 437 – Materials Testing and Measurement were used in the spring, 2001. Results of the study show that the EnableOA process was relatively easy to learn for instructors and students. The instructor spent approximately four hours incorporating the first course into the assessment system, and less than half that time incorporating additional courses. It is anticipated that in the future only one hour of assessment software preparation per existing course will be adequate. Students were introduced to the process, which involved the creation and maintenance of an electronic portfolio, in a single class period for one course and via Email for the second course. Student participation was entirely voluntary. Approximately two thirds of 37 eligible students participated in the fall term. The quality of the material that students submitted was, in general, good or moderate quality; however, students had difficulty associating their respective educational experiences to appropriate educational outcomes. The data and reports that were automatically generated by EnableOA were judged to be useful for continuous improvement and accreditation, with the caveat that students must improve their ability to select appropriate outcomes. The university expects to continue developing the assessment program using EnableOA.
Outcomes assessment and continuous improvement are essential elements of educational programs. Emphasis on assessment is primarily based upon the requirements of accrediting agencies, but also based on the perceived value of assessment to satisfy demands for accountability and the increased competition in higher education. Educational research shows that measurement of educational outcomes can be used to inform an institution about educational goals that are being satisfied and those which are not. This information can motivate and direct efforts to improve curriculum.
In practice, the measurement of educational outcomes is difficult and can be expensive, the results are often ambiguous or statistically unsound. The positive impact of continuous improvement on the curriculum is difficult to provei. Despite the difficulties and expense, accrediting groups and other agencies have mandated outcomes assessment and continuous improvement. Of special note are new criteria by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), which apply to engineering programs in 2000ii, and are projected to be mandated for engineering technology programs in 2001iii. The new criteria rely extensively on outcomes assessment for accreditation, and there is a need for efficient and effective assessment processes to satisfy them. These outcomes are also applicable to many other programs, including those accredited by the National Association for Industrial Technology (NAIT). This paper describes the first-term implementation of a web-based assessment process in the technology program, and examines the effectiveness of the process in terms of student and faculty buy-in, and whether the process produces useful data and reports for accreditation and continuous improvement.
Drake, W., & Walcerz, D. (2001, June), Implementing Classroom Outcomes Assessment (Tac) With Commercially Available Software: A Computerized Approach To Outcomes Assessment: A Pilot Study Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. https://peer.asee.org/9357
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