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Importance of Laboratory Examination in Introductory Engineering Courses

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Assessment in Laboratory and Project-based Courses: Experimentation and Laboratory-oriented Studies Division

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

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Maria Javaid Indiana State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Maria Javaid joined Indiana State University in August 2019 as Assistant Professor. Before coming to ISU she was Assistant Professor at Jacksonville University. She received her PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014, where she was nominated as an exemplary teaching assistant by her department for three consecutive years.

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Learning through laboratory experiments has always been considered an essential part of undergraduate engineering education. Laboratories help students with conceptual understanding of theoretical concepts and learning social skills of working in groups. Laboratories also help students to learn important hands-on skills required for their profession. Particularly, laboratories of introductory courses teach such hands-on technical skills. Laboratory performance assessment often count towards a portion of overall grade for the associated course. For introductory engineering courses this assessment completely rely on formative assessment involving successful completion and results reporting of individual experiments. Students perform laboratory experiments with the help of laboratory instructor as a part of teams which often range from two to four members. Such formative assessment is very suitable. However, it may not be sufficient in determining individual student learning of required hands-on skills as students work in teams and also seek help from laboratory instructor. In this paper, author will show through summative laboratory examination results that good formative assessment results does not always reflect as good results of individual assessment of laboratory hands-on skills. Author has implemented individual laboratory examination in an introductory circuit analysis course at a regional university. The course had total 23 students. Students were informed from the beginning that all course examinations will include individual laboratory examination. Formative assessment of individual laboratory experiments was also performed throughout the course. Course had three sessional exams and one final exam. The first sessional exam results indicated low laboratory exam scores for a significant number of students who were getting good scores in formative assessment. The hands-on skills tested in laboratory exam were building electrical circuit on bread-board and measurement of electrical quantities like currents and voltages in the circuit. Once students realize that they are scoring low on hands-on skills, they worked more seriously in the laboratory. The laboratory exam results started to improve for subsequent exams. Final laboratory exam results were good for the whole class reflecting that all students have learned the required basic hands-on skills. However, if there would not be such laboratory exams the students who scored low on first laboratory exam may not improve on their hands-on skills and therefore would lack an important component of learning. Author propose laboratory examination can be included in other courses of engineering as well with varying percentage towards final grade to ensure student learning of hands-on skills along with their theoretical learning.

Javaid, M. (2021, July), Importance of Laboratory Examination in Introductory Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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