June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.739.1 - 11.739.12
Improving Student Learning of Materials Fundamentals
All engineering students at the University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin) are required to take an introductory course in materials science and engineering. This is a common requirement for most engineering programs. At UT Martin this introductory course consists of two lecture hours and one three-hour lab per week. Additional exposure to materials concepts and applications are obtained through courses such as Strength of Materials, and depending on the area of concentration courses in Reinforced Concrete, Soils, Manufacturing Processes, Electronics, and Machine Design. An examination of student performance on the Materials and Structure of Matter section of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination showed that UT Martin students consistently scored below the national average and that the trend was constant to slightly negative.
Figure 1 shows data that compares UT Martin 1.60 test results to the national average. UT Martin A.M. 1.40 students take the General Engineering Exam P.M. which includes a materials section in both the Running Average 1.20
A.M. and P.M. test sessions. Results are shown 1.00 for both test sessions. The results shown in the 0.80 figure are based on a four-point running average 0.60 that is used to dampen the oscillations 0.40 associated with individual test sessions. 0.20 Removing the oscillations enables trends to be more easily seen. As seen in the figure, UT 0.00 Sep-01 Apr-02 Oct-02 May-03 Dec-03 Martin scores were consistently 5-10% below End Date the national average with slight negative trend. UT Martin’s goal is to have students Figure 1. Comparison of UT Martin test consistently score at or above the national results with national average average on this exam. This goal was not being met in this subject area.
UT Martin uses data from the FE to assess whether or not some program outcomes are being met. Core Curriculum Committees are responsible for reviewing the assessment data for groups of courses and determining whether or not changes in course content is needed. The Core Curriculum Committee responsible for the materials course determined that the textbook, prerequisites, and content covered in the course was similar to those at other universities. Therefore, reasons other than content had to exist that would explain the lower than expected performance. During the course of this review a number of potential contributing factors were identified. First, not all students had completed the materials course at the time of the examination. Depending on the area of concentration, materials may not be a prerequisite for another course and in some cases students put off taking the course until their last semester of enrollment. It was decided that this problem was best addressed through advising in which faculty made sure that students took the junior level course in their junior year instead of deferring it until their last semester. Second, it was determined that only the laboratory portion
LeMaster, R., & Witmer, R. (2006, June), Improving Student Learning Of Materials Fundamentals Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--21
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