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Meet The Abet “Student Work Sample” Requirements: Document Student Learning

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Assessment and Continuous Improvement in Engineering Technology: Part I

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.874.1 - 14.874.9



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Paper Authors


Barbara Christe Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Barbara Christe is the program director for the baccalaureate program in Biomedical Engineering Technology at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis. She is an Associate Professor and a member of the University College faculty.

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Elaine Cooney Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Elaine Cooney is professor of electrical and computer engineering technology at IUPUI. She is the author of RFID+ The Complete Review of Radio Frequency Identification. Her areas of focus include analog circuits, radio frequency, signal processing and engineering technology education assessment. She holds an MS in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

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

Meet the ABET “Student Work Sample” Requirements: Document Student Learning


Assessment theory has expanded from traditional examinations that are focused on the result, to include the process of learning. ABET program evaluators (PEVs) have been instructed to look for documentation of student learning in the samples of student work required of institutions seeking accreditation. Educational theory supports this change as a positive shift to promote student success. This paper will explore the techniques which institutions can use to successfully exemplify the achievements and transformation of their students, which will meet the expectations of ABET evaluators. The benefits of this new approach, for faculty, students and the program will be highlighted.


Section II.E.3.c (10) in the Accreditation Policy and Procedure Manual of ABET describes the requirements regarding samples of student work. It states:

Representative samples of student work that reveal the spectrum of educational outcome. In order to make a qualitative evaluation of a program, it is necessary that the institution exhibit teaching materials such as course outlines and textbooks for all courses required for graduation. Sufficient examples of student work in technical, mathematics, and science courses must be available to the visiting team for the entire campus visit. The examples should show a range of grades for assignments, including homework, quizzes, examinations, drawings, laboratory reports, projects, and samples of computer usage in technical courses. Examples must also be presented to demonstrate compliance with the requirement for student competence in written and oral communications.1

To meet this directive, student assignments such as quizzes, homework assignments, laboratory reports and tests, related to a particular course, were typically duplicated and grouped in binders as display items for ABET evaluators. Each course would contain examples of poor, average and exceptional student work gathered in a tabbed binder. This was provided to ABET program evaluators as an illustration of the achievements of students, proof of student learning.

Then came the shift in ABET criteria to a more assessment driven process. Now there is an expectation to demonstrate student learning and active engagement. Clearly, Xeroxed copies of traditional assignments are not adequate evidence of group work, experiential learning and other active instructional techniques. Simply providing these traditional assignment samples does not adequately reflect student-student interactions, learning which occurs through group activities and other instructional methods which do not readily translate to paper. Certainly, these creative endeavors benefit the student, enhance learning and are important evidence of the achievements of students. A disconnect results between the expectations of program evaluators and the ability of faculty to successfully document learning activities in forms which neatly fit into binders.

Christe, B., & Cooney, E. (2009, June), Meet The Abet “Student Work Sample” Requirements: Document Student Learning Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4595

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