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Strategies For Assessing Course Specific Outcomes

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session


Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1149.1 - 11.1149.16



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Paper Authors


David Meyer Purdue University

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David G. Meyer has been very active in curriculum development, learning outcome assessment, design education, and use of instructional technology. He is currently responsible for creating, maintaining, and teaching the core ECE digital systems course sequence: ECE 270 (Introduction to Digital System Design), ECE 362 (Microprocessor System Design and Interfacing), and ECE 477 (Digital Systems Senior Design Project). He has written numerous papers on innovative uses of technology in education; more recent research contributions include papers on learning outcome assessment in both lower-division “content” courses and in senior-level capstone design courses.

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

Strategies for Assessing Course-Specific Outcomes


A proven method for satisfying the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) “Criterion 3” requirements is the formulation of outcomes specific to “core” courses in a curriculum, which are tied to the program outcomes. The challenges of assessing such course- specific outcomes are described in this paper, with a focus on practical realities and lessons learned through seven trials in two different computer engineering courses spanning nearly five years. Issues addressed include formulation of outcomes, choice of evaluation instruments, static vs. dynamic assessment thresholds, instructor overhead, maintaining consistency with prior grading practices, and remediation strategies. Outcome demonstration success rate data are presented for representative trials.


ABET, Inc., the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, is a federation of 28 professional and technical societies representing these fields. ABET has provided leadership and quality assurance in higher education for over 70 years. The criteria for accrediting engineering programs1 published by ABET are intended to assure quality and to foster the systematic pursuit of improvement in the quality of engineering education that satisfies the needs of constituencies in a dynamic and competitive environment. Although institutions may use different terminology, for purposes of Criterion 3, program outcomes are statements that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that student acquire in their matriculation through the program. For the purpose of accreditation, engineering programs must demonstrate that their students attain: (a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering; (b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data; (c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability; (d) an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams; (e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems; (f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility; (g) an ability to communicate effectively; (h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context; (i) a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning; (j) a knowledge of contemporary issues; and (k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

According to supporting documentation provided by ABET 2, “…engineering programs must have in place an appropriate assessment process that produces documented results that

Meyer, D. (2006, June), Strategies For Assessing Course Specific Outcomes Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--106

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