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Improving The Chemical Engineering Curriculum Through Assessment: Student, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, And Industry Input

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Assessment & Quality Assurance in engr edu

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.644.1 - 7.644.13



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Paper Authors

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Sean Clancey

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Anton Pintar

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Jason Keith

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Main Menu Session 1360

Improving the Chemical Engineering Curriculum through Assessment: Student, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Industry Input

Sean Clancey, Jason M. Keith, and Anton J. Pintar Department of Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931


In response to requirements set forth by ABET2000 for the accreditation of engineering programs, the Deptartment of Chemical Engineering at MTU has been assessing its curriculum since 1995 (as described in a prior conference proceedings 1) using a series of assessment tools developed over the succeeding six years. Three of the tools, the department skills test and the senior exit surveys and interviews, were implemented for the first time in 1999. This paper will discuss the results of our assessments, focusing on 1999-2001, and how the department is using those results to improve instruction.

The eight tools of the MTU Chemical Engineering Assessment Program are the following: skills test, analysis of design reports, senior exit interview, alumni survey, writing portfolio, oral presentation skills, safety program, and performance on fundamentals of engineering exam.

Tool #1–Skills Test

Tool #1 in the department’s assessment plan is “department designed skills test to be given to the students in the Spring Quarter in the Unit Operations Laboratory. The test will measure fundamental knowledge, design skills, and problem solving skills.” The metric is “60% pass rate (>70 out of 100 score).”

A multiple-choice test with 22 questions was given late in the Spring Quarter, 2001 to eighty-three graduating seniors. This test was different than the previous year, when the test was composed of 13 questions. The students were bribed to take the exam by offering free pizza. However, many took it seriously when told it helped with accreditation. The questions covered the following areas: Fundamentals (basic definitions, unit conversions, mass balances, and energy balances); Transport Phenomena (fluid flow, heat transfer, and mass transfer); Thermodynamics; and Kinetics/Reactor Design. The overall results of the test are summarized in Table 1 below.

60% of the students answered 13/22 questions or better for a score of 59% or better on the exam. Only 19% of the students answered the required 16/22 or better to achieve at least a 70% score (considered passing by this metric). It is proposed to use the same exam next year to try and get an

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Clancey, S., & Pintar, A., & Keith, J. (2002, June), Improving The Chemical Engineering Curriculum Through Assessment: Student, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, And Industry Input Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11198

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