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Standards-Based Grading in a Fluid Mechanics Course

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Learning and Assessment in ME

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1099.1 - 24.1099.10



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Paper Authors


Scott L. Post Bradley University

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Scott Post received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University. He is currently an associate professor at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. He previously has worked as an assistant professor at Michigan Technological University. He also has been a summer Faculty Fellow at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and a Visiting Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Standards-Based Grading in a Fluid Mechanics CourseAbstractStandards based grading is a formal assessment mechanism that tests for student achievement ofspecified learning objectives, or standards. Standards-Based-Grading has been gaining inpopularity in K-12 education, and also has been seeing increased use in higher education. Withincreased pressure from ABET to measure achievement of student outcomes, Standards-BasedGrading provides a method to do that within the traditional course setting without having togenerate a separate set of data outside the normal course grading. In Standards-Based Gradingstudents are allowed to re-test on particular objectives, with the newest score replacing the olderone in the gradebook. This paper describes how Standards-Based Grading was implemented in ajunior-level fluid mechanics course that included both lecture and laboratory components. A totalof nine learning objectives were specified for the course. These learning objectives are: calculatefluid thrust forces, calculate aerodynamic forces, solve pipe flow problems, select a pump for asystem, select a flowmeter for a system, write a computer program to solve transient fluidsproblems, write a professional quality lab report, acquire and analyze laboratory data, and be avaluable member of team that successfully completes a project. The learning objectives can bemapped to ABET student outcomes. In this implementation of Standards-Based Grading, allassessments are done on a pass-fail basis. That is to say, there is no partial credit given. Once astudent passes an assessment, usually given in the form of a quiz, on a given learning objective,it is assumed the student has mastered that concept and is not tested on it again. The final examserves as a last chance for students to pass any objectives they did not complete earlier in thesemester. Student achievement of the learning objectives is compared to that in previoussemesters where a traditional grading scheme was used, and grade distributions are alsocompared.

Post, S. L. (2014, June), Standards-Based Grading in a Fluid Mechanics Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23032

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