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Public Records As A Source For Assessment Data

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

TC2K Assessment: How to Really Do It

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1044.1 - 10.1044.6

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Paper Authors

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Bruce Franke

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David Devine

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

Session 3649

Public Records as a Source for Assessment Data

David P. Devine and Bruce Franke Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne


The purpose of this paper is to present how program assessment data can be gathered from information available from public sources in the government. Public records are investigated as a source of assessment data. Particularly, this paper deals with records that are well suited for civil engineering technology, civil engineering, and related degree programs. These records include engineering licensing records of individuals, Requests For Proposals/Requests for Qualifications submissions from consulting firms provided to public agencies, government budgets, job titles & job descriptions for government jobs, educational backgrounds of employees working for government agencies, and election results and public appointments to boards, committees, and similar orga nizations. Records are available from state, county, and city sources. These records are independent of the assessment and as suc h could provide an assessment data source not biased by the assessment process. The records and the data availability varies from easily accessible information found on the Internet to papers and reports filed away in the back corner of small government offices. Such records and data should be used in concert with additional assessment information. Interpretation of public record assessment data is an ongoing process. Future work includes using the gathered information for program assessment and continuous improvement.


A unique method of gathering assessment data occurred as two professors discussed the newspaper. Pay rates for job classifications of county government workers were printed on pages of the local newspaper. The names of some of these workers were mentioned as the various job classifications were viewed. These names were of graduates of the program. The paper was filed away with a remark that it is interesting and useful to know this information. This exact information is requested on both graduate and employer surveys sent for the department’s assessment program. The response to these surveys is often less than desired and always dependent on the accuracy of the person completing the form. In the case of these government workers, no graduate or employer survey was on file. However, now the local newspaper had provided some of the information requested on these surveys and it was all based on public records. The idea of what other information could be obtained from public records was born and a process began to think of and search for other sources of assessment data that could be gleaned from public records.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Franke, B., & Devine, D. (2005, June), Public Records As A Source For Assessment Data Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015