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Students Issue Infrastructure Report Card Grades

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

The New ABET CE Criteria - Program Development

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1133.1 - 15.1133.11



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

Students Issue Infrastructure Report Card Grades


Students in three civil engineering courses developed infrastructure report card grades for aspects of infrastructure in Indiana. An assignment in each of these three courses was made in which the students developed a grade for a particular type of infrastructure. The three types of infrastructure investigated were drinking water, waste water, and solid waste. The results of the student efforts were shared with the Indiana Section, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for consideration and use in development of the Infrastructure Report Card on Indiana’s Infrastructure. Students worked in groups of two over several weeks to complete the assignment. The 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure by ASCE was presented to all students both in the printed form and on the Internet. The “Methodology - Development of the Report Card Grades” used by ASCE was presented to students and particular note was made of the sources of information referenced by ASCE. Additional sources of information relative to Indiana specific data for drinking water, waste water, and solid waste facilities and infrastructure were presented to the students. Nevertheless, students were encouraged to use creativity and to think outside of the box in their work and they did not need to follow any previous method used to assign infrastructure grades. The students completed the assignment by submitting two deliverables, a paper explaining the process to determine the grade and postcard sized graphic illustrating the resulting grade. The assessment of the assignment was primarily gauged by a survey form completed by the students. Furthermore, the instructor (author) offers reflections of the assignment, student efforts, and future improvements. Additional assessments measured by use of the student work in the Indiana Section efforts for their report card are ongoing. The assignments are well suited for ABET Criterion 3 Program Outcomes (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; and (j) a knowledge of contemporary issues.1 An hypothesis of the assignment is if students take on an endeavor that practicing engineers are currently also doing as well as produce meaningful value in the work product for their efforts. The evidence of the student work and student survey responses indicates that students can take on such an effort. The meaningful value of the work product is not so evident.


Civil Engineers are the care takers of infrastructure. The first priority strategy of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) listed in the ASCE Strategy Management2 is Infrastructure. ASCE has issued six infrastructure reports cards beginning in 1988 with the most recent in the Spring of 2009.3 Civil engineering degree program curricula have been adjusted to emphasize infrastructure.4 The message of the infrastructure report cards has reached major media outlets5 and the highest levels of the United States Government including the President6, 7, Senate8, and the House of Representatives9 although multiple other examples exist. Nevertheless, the impact and value of the infrastructure report cards has been questioned10 in ASCE publications. Many

Devine, D. (2010, June), Students Issue Infrastructure Report Card Grades Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16169

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