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Program Outcome Assessment In An Industrially Sponsored Senior Capstone Course

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Assessing Design Coursework I

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1190.1 - 12.1190.16



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Paper Authors


Nirmala Gnanapragasam Seattle University

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Nirmala Gnanapragasam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Seattle University. She is a geotechnical engineer and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Washington. She is the design coordinator of the senior capstone design program in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, is active in consulting, in engineering education research, and in professional organizations.

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

Program Outcome Assessment in an Industrially Sponsored Senior Capstone Course Abstract

ABET 2000 program criteria requires that student participate in a major design experience prior to graduation (criterion 4) and that programs demonstrate, using primarily direct measures of student performance, that all graduates have achieved the a-k program outcomes (criterion 3). The civil engineering capstone design program at Seattle University has developed, implemented and improved various assessment tools over the past several years to assess each of the a-k program outcomes. All constituents participated in the assessment process. The paper provides examples of the various assessment tools, discusses their effectiveness and how the feedback of the assessment is fed back to the students to keep them in the assessment loop. These assessments satisfied a-k program outcomes, benefited the students and provided valuable information to improve the program. The engineering program had a successful ABET visit in 2005.


Criterion 4 of ABET 2000 requires that students participate in a major design experience prior to graduation. Project based senior capstone courses satisfy this criterion very well. These senior design projects also have the added advantage of being a great venue to demonstrate the ABET Engineering criterion 3 (a-k) program outcomes.

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and implementation of the assessments tools that satisfy criterion 3 (a-k) program outcomes and the course learning outcomes developed by the Civil Engineering Department at Seattle University. The paper briefly describes the senior design program, defines the assessment tools, shows how the various constituents were incorporated into the assessment process, and discusses some of the results of the assessment. The paper summarizes the benefits of having assessment tools in place and how they are improved continuously to improve the overall program.

Setup of Senior Design Program at Seattle University

Seattle University has had an industrially sponsored senior design program within the College of Science and Engineering for the past 20 years. The ‘Project Center’, an entity within the College of Science and Engineering, manages the administrative aspect of all projects. Design projects that could be completed within an academic-year are recruited from local industries by the Project Center personnel and the department’s design coordinator (ie. the instructor of the senior design sequence) in summer and early fall prior to the beginning of the academic year. Teams of three to four students work under the direction of a company liaison and a faculty advisor to solve a real life engineering problem.

Gnanapragasam, N. (2007, June), Program Outcome Assessment In An Industrially Sponsored Senior Capstone Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2934

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