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Sustainable Assessment And Beyond

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1109.1 - 14.1109.13



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Paper Authors

author page

Wayne Whiteman Georgia Institute of Technology

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

Sustainable Assessment and Beyond


This paper provides an overview of two web-based tools for program-level and course-level assessment of student learning outcomes at the Georgia Institute of Technology. An institutional level perspective for annual program assessment is discussed using a tool called the “Online Assessment Tracking System (OATS).” A second perspective, at the academic unit or department level, is provided using a web-based tool entitled “Course Level Assessment System (CLASS)” for conducting ongoing direct course assessment of student learning outcomes. Five integrative courses in the mechanical engineering curriculum are selected to assess twelve learning outcomes. These web-based outcomes assessment programs are sustainable and provide measures of change over time. Results are fed back to provide a mechanism for continuous improvement of the educational process. The tools also integrate online technology to develop and maintain the systems. At both the institute and academic unit/department level, the assessment process is subject to review and approval. Administrators and faculty instructors are able to use the information to fine tune their assessments in the future. In addition, the annual reviews ensure that the programs will be ready at any time for accreditation visits, such as ABET or Regional Accreditation Boards, for example. The topics presented regarding web-based assessment tools are particularly pertinent to others who work in higher education. This paper offers creative web-based solutions to a problem that is common to colleges and universities.

Background and Motivation

Educational institutions are expected to have a program of continuous improvement to demonstrate how well they are accomplishing their teaching, learning, and research missions. Assessment methods and tools allow schools to accomplish this goal and to continually renew their commitment toward building better learning environments.

Instructors constantly assess student learning through comparison to standards required for a competent understanding of the course material. Assessment is more than assigning individual grades in a course. Assessment is more holistic. The goal is to assess the learning that is being achieved by our students as a whole, rather than a single student. The question addressed is whether learning is effective through a curriculum that produces graduates who are able to achieve learning outcomes and objectives desired by the educational institution. Strengths are identified to build on and improve the overall program. Weaknesses are also identified so that they may be corrected and also improved upon. If the learning community, to include students, faculty, and constituents, are able to continuously improve the teaching and learning experience for their students, the assessment process should be considered a success.

In addition, there are requirements for educational institutions to be in compliance with a number of accreditation bodies.1 This will include a regional accreditation board, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for schools in the southeast. For engineering and

“Proceedings of the 2009 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2009, American Society for Engineering Education”

Whiteman, W. (2009, June), Sustainable Assessment And Beyond Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4506

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: © 2009 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