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Objective Structured Exam For Biomedical Electronics

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.472.1 - 5.472.7



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Paper Authors

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Jean-Michel I. Maarek

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

Session 2209

Objective structured exam for biomedical electronics Jean-Michel I. Maarek University of Southern California, Los Angeles CA


The assessment of engineering students enrolled in laboratory courses is usually based on reports that the students prepare after completing experiments in the laboratory. This practice encourages the development of technical writing and presentation skills that are necessary for preparing successful future engineers. However, the students abilities for analysis of a laboratory experiment, their manipulative skills in conducting measurements using laboratory instrumentation, and their thought process during debugging of a faulty setup are not adequately assessed with the laboratory report.

Six abilities have been distinguished for chemistry laboratories1 that can be adapted to describe student performance in engineering laboratories: 1. Communication: identification of laboratory equipment and operations; 2. Observation: recording of observations and detecting errors in techniques; 3. Investigation: accurate recording of properties of a device or compound; 4. Reporting: maintenance of a suitable laboratory record; 5. Manipulation: skills in working with laboratory equipment; 6. Discipline: maintenance of an orderly laboratory and observation of safety procedures. The laboratory report allows the instructor to assess the students ability to report (#4) and to a certain extent to observe (#2) and to investigate (#3). In contrast, the students ability to properly use the laboratory equipment (#1, #5 and #6) are hidden in the description of procedures transcribed in the laboratory report. This limitation is exacerbated when students work in pairs on their laboratory experiment. One of the students in the pair is often more assertive than the other student. He or she rapidly takes the active role and does most of the manipulations. The other student’s role is reduced to writing down procedures and measured values. The description of experimental procedures may be identical in the laboratory reports of the two students. Clearly, the active student will have learned much more from the laboratory experience than the passive student.

Paper-and-pencil examinations have been used for assessment of student performance in laboratory classes2. While written tests can to a certain extent recreate experimental situations and results encountered in the laboratory, the tests limit the range of manipulation that a student can undertake to contrived situations predetermined by the test designer. Hofstein and Lunetta1 in their review on the role of laboratories in science teaching reported the work of Kruglak who asserted that certain psychomotor laboratory skills cannot be measured with written tests. These

Maarek, J. I. (2000, June), Objective Structured Exam For Biomedical Electronics Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8599

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