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Linking Student Achievement To Program Outcomes Assessment

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

TIME 7: ABET Issues and Capstone Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.872.1 - 9.872.14



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Paper Authors

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David Pape

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1922

Linking Student Achievement to Program Outcomes Assessment

David A. Pape Saginaw Valley State University

Abstract In recent years, there have been numerous publications outlining the assessment plans that various institutions have put into place in response to the ABET EC 2000 criteria. In this paper an outcomes assessment process which includes direct measures of student achievement in engineering classes is described. It is postulated that in a well-designed course, the student learning objectives for that course will necessarily have a high correlation with overall program outcomes. Further, faculty teaching such courses will naturally gather data relating to student performance on these course objectives. Therefore, it is logical to propose that this data be used independently of the classroom grading for the purpose of program outcome assessment.

Based on available literature, relatively few schools appear to be using student work in a formal way to assess program outcomes. This may be due to a variety of reasons, including legitimate questions that have been raised in the assessment literature regarding the validity of using transcript data to assess program outcomes. However, by not using graded course work, it is possible that a large quantity of potentially valuable assessment data that is routinely gathered by faculty is being overlooked. Exam and quiz problems, laboratory and project reports, oral presentations, and homework assignments, which are standard in virtually all engineering courses, generate assessment data that can be used not only for computing a student’s course grade, but also in a quantitative way for program level assessment and feedback. In fact, a few schools have reported that grades on assignments and examinations in individual courses has been the single most useful assessment instrument, providing feedback both to the student and to the instructor.

Important differences between the method suggested herein and the practice of using raw course grades (transcript data), average class grades, or other “smeared” data are described. The system for collecting and analyzing the data obtained by faculty and how this information is used to within the feedback loop is also illustrated.

Introduction The EC 2000 accreditation criteria require that an institution have in place a comprehensive outcomes assessment program to ensure the quality and continuous improvement of the educational process1. There have been many papers published in the last few years on the topic of assessment as it relates to the new criteria. Assessment may take place at the course level or at the program level2. Course level assessment attempts to ensure that in a particular course the required material is sufficiently well taught and understood. Program level assessment addresses the program outcome indicators as well as assessing the content, sequence, and integration of all courses within a program. Ressler and Lenox3 provide a program assessment model with integrated course level assessment that is being used at their institution. They correctly assert that these two levels of assessment are clearly not independent, and that “in a well integrated

Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Pape, D. (2004, June), Linking Student Achievement To Program Outcomes Assessment Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13331

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