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Initial Results in Developing an Engineering Reasoning Assessment for General Education

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

The Philosophy of Engineering and Technological Literacy

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

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Paper Authors


John Krupczak Jr National Science Foundation

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Professor of Engineering, Hope College, Holland, Michigan. Former Chair of the ASEE Technological Literacy Division; Former Chair of the ASEE Liberal Education Division; Senior Fellow CASEE, National Academy of Engineering, 2008-2010; Program Officer, National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education 2013-2016.

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Mani Mina Iowa State University

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Mani Mina is with the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. He has been working on better understanding of students' learning and issues of technological and engineering philosophy and literacy. In particular how such literacy and competency are reflected in curricular and student activities.

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Kate A Disney Mission College

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Kate Disney has been teaching engineering at the community college level since 1990. Her interests are promoting greater gender and racial balance in engineering as well as exciting students through open-ended projects and applications.

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Despite the importance of technology to our well-being and the significance of engineering principles to economic prosperity, limited work has been done measuring the degree to which undergraduate students possess a broad understanding of the principles, products, and processes of technology. While assessments of learning gains within courses that form part of an engineering major have been developed under ABET EC 2000, the means of assessing the technological understanding of the majority of undergraduates who are not engineering students is yet to be systematically addressed. The work reported here describes the initial stages of an effort to develop a technological literacy assessment suitable for use with students who are not intending careers in STEM disciplines. As an initial starting point, the work focuses on abilities related to the identification and characterization of systems. Specific abilities include identifying a system and its boundaries, recognition of inputs and outputs, analysis of system structure, determination of subfunctions within the system, recognition of major components, associating specific physical processes with particular components, and discernment of the boundaries of the system. The ability to synthesize systems to achieve a particular function in given technological domain is also considered. This work begins an effort to create some assessment tool appropriate for use with the large number of students who are not majoring in one of the STEM disciplines. Preliminary from using these assessments with undergraduate non-STEM majors are described.

Krupczak, J., & Mina, M., & Disney, K. A. (2016, June), Initial Results in Developing an Engineering Reasoning Assessment for General Education Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25695

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