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Standards-Based Grading for Signals and Systems

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Insights for Teaching ECE Courses - Session II

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Jay Wierer Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Jay Wierer is an associate professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at Milwaukee School of Engineering. He has served as an officer in the New Engineering Educators division of ASEE. He also serves as the ASEE Campus Representative for MSOE. He regularly teaches courses in signal processing, communications, controls, and electric circuits.

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Standards-based grading (SBG) is gaining popularity in K-12 education as it measures students’ proficiency on a number of course objectives rather than to give a single grade that does not by itself convey how well the student understands each of the core concepts from the course. Whereas a single grade may be assigned based on the extent to which the student demonstrates proficiency on a number of course objectives, the focus is to give the student, as well as other educators, a more detailed breakdown of the assessment of individual course objectives. This paper describes the implementation of SBG in a junior-level signals and systems course. SBG has been implemented in various undergraduate engineering courses [1, 2, 3, 5] in recent years but, to date, no one has documented its implementation in signals and systems. Because the concepts taught in a signals and systems course are fundamental to subsequent electrical and computer engineering courses, such as digital signal processing and communication systems, SBG is appealing as an assessment tool for this course. In this course, a number of course objectives have been identified from among the following key concepts: signal visualization in the time and frequency domains, system analysis in the time (convolution) and frequency (Fourier) domains, signal analysis (Fourier series and Fourier transform), and sampling (Nyquist’s theorem). Proficiency on each of these objectives is assessed using a five-point scale, and the final course grade is calculated from a weighted average of the objective assessment scores. The objectives are assessed using weekly quizzes, midterm examinations, and a final examination. This paper analyzes the effectiveness of the introduction of SBG in the signals and systems course at the author’s institution. The study consists of a comparison of course objective assessment between students who took the signals and systems course before and since the implementation of SBG.

Wierer, J. (2019, June), Standards-Based Grading for Signals and Systems Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33282

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