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Performance Assessment Of Ec 2000 Student Outcomes In The Unit Operations Laboratory

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.417.1 - 4.417.12

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Paper Authors

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Barbara Olds

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Ronald Miller

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

Session 3513

Performance Assessment of EC-2000 Student Outcomes in the Unit Operations Laboratory

Ronald L. Miller, Barbara M. Olds Colorado School of Mines Golden, Colorado


The new ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC-2000) describe eleven student outcomes which must be demonstrated by graduates of accredited programs. Many of these outcomes focus on professional engineering practice including an ability to design and conduct experiments; analyze and interpret data; identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems; function on multidisciplinary teams; communicate effectively; and use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice. Each of these outcomes is best evaluated using some form of performance assessment where students are judged on their ability to complete the required task in a setting approaching authentic engineering practice rather than by traditional objective tests which focus on non-contextual recall of facts and closed-ended problem-solving.

This paper describes the process we followed to design and implement performance assessment in the unit operations laboratory including setting goals and objectives compatible with our departmental program objectives, defining appropriate student performance criteria, developing and testing a scoring rubric for laboratory written reports, deciding when and how often we assess, and determining how to evaluate the collected assessment data. Assessment results from our first pilot study are presented and discussed to illustrate the utility of the data obtained in improving the laboratory course and chemical engineering curriculum.


Most of us are aware that traditional engineering courses overemphasize “plugging and cranking” on well-defined, close-ended, numerical problems at the expense of helping students become better critical thinkers and engineering practitioners. As a result, and in sharp contrast with other professions such as medicine and law, too few of our engineering graduates are capable of immediately practicing engineering when they leave college. Yet, industry expects to hire engineering graduates who “can go beyond the numbers” by understanding how technical results fit into a larger systems perspective, who can integrate knowledge to find new solutions to problems rather than relying on a traditional reductionist approach, who can deal with uncertainty and develop engineering judgment skills, and who can communicate the results of their work to many different audiences. [1,2] In short, they want engineers who can “think outside the academic box.” In response to these expectations, many of the new ABET EC-2000 outcomes focus on professional practice including: (3b) “an ability to design and conduct

Olds, B., & Miller, R. (1999, June), Performance Assessment Of Ec 2000 Student Outcomes In The Unit Operations Laboratory Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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