June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.773.1 - 14.773.7
Integration of Assessment and Curriculum in Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Science Programs
The development of the curriculum of a program normally includes academic considerations that promote knowledge acquisition of the student. In this paper the authors discuss how the Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Science programs at Texas A&M International University are also incorporating assessment tools to design specific target courses in their curriculum. The development of such strategy has followed a process that has involved all faculty members in the related disciplines. Every program has five outcomes, of which three are common to all programs. The department is also targeting specific courses in its programs to measure these outcomes, and is using the results of this assessment to rethink the way a course is being offered. This paper presents some results.
In past years, academic choices were mostly dictated by purely academic considerations. Today that is not the case. Universities are paying more and more attention to assessment as part of the considerations that are taken into account when making academic decisions1,3.
The Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Texas A&M International University decided to begin a process in which assessment tools would be used to think and rethink the way courses are implemented. The department offered at the time this process began six major degrees, five of them in Mathematics (a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science, as well as two teaching certificate degrees for 4th to 8th grade and from 8th to 12th grade, and a Master of Science in Mathematics), and one Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Physical Science. In summer 2008 the Bachelor of Science with a major in Systems Engineering degree was approved. Even though the main driving force of the department has been Mathematics, Engineering is emerging as the new driving force in the department.
This paper describes the process since its beginning in 2007, when the department hired a new chair. Since then the department has revised its Mission and Vision statements, agreed on Program Outcomes for all of its degrees, added Student Learning Outcomes to all syllabi, and used the assessment cycle to improve its programs. These jobs have been undertaken by the Assessment Committee of the department. The committee is composed by five members: one from Engineering, one from physics and three from Mathematics.
Beginning the Process: The Mission and Vision Statements
The beginning of this process dates back to 2007, when the University hired a new chair for the Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. One of the first tasks that the new chair assigned to the Assessment Committee was to revise the Mission and Vision statements that are displayed in our web page2. The version that existed at the time did not include all fields represented in the teaching and research of the department. For example, neither Engineering nor Computer Science were mentioned in the statement. Other fields, with the exception of Mathematics, were included under the umbrella of being physical sciences. This label, however, was not enough to include the emerging Engineering discipline in the department. As a result the Mission and Vision statements of the department were rewritten to include Engineering and other disciplines explicitly.
The process of revising the Mission and Vision statements itself was short. It took about two meetings in
Chappa, E., & Abe, T., & Belkhouche, F., & Goonatilake, R., & Ni, Q., & Bachnak, R. (2009, June), Integration Of Assessment And Curriculum In Engineering, Mathematics, And Physical Science Programs Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5554
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