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Overview and Comparison of Assessment Tools for Integrative Thinking

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Program-Level Assessments for Multidisciplinary Areas

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Pearl Elizabeth Ortega Texas A&M University

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Pearl Ortega is a PhD student at Texas A&M University, College Station studying Interdisciplinary Engineering with a focus on Engineering Education. Ms. Ortega received her undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX and a M. Eng. degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University with a research focus in remote healthcare. She currently works as a graduate assistant researcher for the AggiE_Challenge Program in the Office of Engineering Academic and Student Affairs at Texas A&M University.

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Magdalini Z Lagoudas Texas A&M University

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Magda Lagoudas, Executive Director for Industry and Nonprofit Partnerships, Dwight Look College of Engineering, Texas A&M University. Mrs. Lagoudas holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering. She worked for the State of New York and industry before joining Texas A&M University in 1993. Since then, she developed and taught courses in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Technology. In 2001, she joined the Spacecraft Technology Center as an Assistant Director where she was responsible for the structural and thermal analysis of payloads. She served as Director of the Space Engineering Institute and in 2010 she accepted a position with the Academic Affairs office of the Dwight Look College of Engineering where she oversaw outreach, recruiting, retention and enrichment programs for the college. Since 2013, she serves as the Executive Director for Industry and Nonprofit Partnerships with responsibilities to increase opportunities for undergraduates engineering students to engage in experiential learning multidisciplinary team projects. These include promoting capstone design projects sponsored by industry, developing the teaching the Engineering Projects in Community Service course, and developing curricular and co-curricular programs at the Engineering Innovation Center which promote innovation and entrepreneurship among engineering students and in collaborations with other colleges on campus and partnering with other institutions across the country.

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Jeffrey E. Froyd Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jeffrey E. Froyd is a TEES Research Professor in the Office of Engineering Academic and Student Affairs in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station. He received the B.S. degree in mathematics from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He was an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. At Rose-Hulman, he co-created the Integrated, First-Year Curriculum in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, which was recognized in 1997 with a Hesburgh Award Certificate of Excellence. He served as Project Director a National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Education Coalition in which six institutions systematically renewed, assessed, and institutionalized innovative undergraduate engineering curricula. He has authored over 70 papers and offered over 30 workshops on faculty development, curricular change processes, curriculum redesign, and assessment. He has served as a program co-chair for three Frontiers in Education Conferences and the general chair for the 2009 conference. Prof. Froyd is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), an ABET Program Evaluator, the Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Transactions on Education, a Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Engineering Education, and an Associate Editor for the International Journal of STEM Education.

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Integrative thinking is an essential competency for graduating engineers. Engineering graduates, who are prepared to address significant engineering challenges, e.g., Engineering Grand Challenges, can effectively integrate fragments from multiple disciplines to solve problems. To help students develop integrative thinking skills, engineering programs need to articulate how they will observe, evaluate, and support student development. Universities have recognized the need for students to engage in interdisciplinary projects and develop skills needed to support industry needs. To address that need, they have offered programs ranging from semester-long courses to weekend challenges designed to engage students in multidisciplinary team projects. However, effectiveness of instructional programs intended to support student development with respect to integrative thinking must be evaluated through assessment. While integrative thinking is much discussed in engineering education, evaluation approaches are few and not widely incorporated into engineering curriculum.

The authors have identified four existing approaches for evaluating integrative thinking: (A) Interdisciplinary Writing Assessment Profiles with the following elements: (i) drawing on disciplinary sources, (ii) critical argumentation, (iii) multidisciplinary perspectives, and (iv) interdisciplinary integration; (B) Targeted Assessment Framework with the following elements: (i) purposefulness, (ii) disciplinary grounding, (iii) integration, and (iv) critical awareness; (C) Transdisciplinary Research Quality Framework rubric with the following elements: (i) relevance, (ii) credibility, (iii) legitimacy, (iv) and effectiveness; and (D) Integrative Learning VALUE Rubric with the following elements: (i) connections to experience, (ii) connections to discipline, (iii) transfer, (iv) integrated communication, and (v) reflection and self-assessment. Following descriptions of the four approaches, the authors will offer criteria to compare assessment instruments for integrative thinking to assist other researchers in identifying most appropriate tools for assessing such skills in their curricula or programs.

Ortega, P. E., & Lagoudas, M. Z., & Froyd, J. E. (2017, June), Overview and Comparison of Assessment Tools for Integrative Thinking Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28728

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