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Sustainable Assessment For Program Improvement And Abet Preparation

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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

Pedagogy and Assessment in ECE III

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1152.1 - 15.1152.14



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Paper Authors


Richard Kelnhofer Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Dr. Kelnhofer is Program Director of Electrical Engineering Technology and Assistant Professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Formerly, he held engineering and managerial positions in the telecommunications industry. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Marquette University in 1997 and is a Professional Engineer registered in the State of Wisconsin. Dr. Kelnhofer teaches courses in communication systems, signal processing, and information and coding theory.

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Stephen Williams Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Dr. Stephen Williams is Program Director of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Missouri in 1990 and has 20 years of experience across the corporate, government, and university sectors. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Wisconsin. He teaches courses in control systems, electronic design, and electromechanics.

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Owe Petersen Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Dr. Petersen is Department Chair and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He is a former Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. His technical work ranges over the topics of optical data links, integrated circuit technology, RF semiconductor components, and semiconductor component reliable. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and an ABET EAC program evaluator in Electrical Engineering.

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

Sustainable Assessment for Program Improvement and ABET Preparation


One of the fundamental challenges of program assessment is to develop a process that is sustainable and has the rigor to deliver the results required for continuous improvement. At the same time the process should on a steady basis be able to provide the data that is expected to be an integral component in the preparation of the ABET Self-Study when the time comes for requesting accreditation.

In this paper we describe such a process. The process consists of three components: 1. A fast feedback procedure to implement continuous improvement at the course level. This procedure includes a course improvement form completed by the course instructor that documents their positive and negative reflections, suggested actions for course improvement, and deviations from the institutional syllabus in their offering of the course. A mechanism for evaluating and implementing suggested improvements is detailed. 2. A program outcome assessment procedure that directly assesses specific program outcomes and implements curricular changes resulting from evaluation of the data. This procedure incorporates an outcome assessment form with assessment tools, rubrics, benchmarks, and suggested curricular actions. The application of the form to the outcome assessment procedure for creating, implementing, and evaluating curricular change is explained. 3. Ongoing documentation of the process is accomplished via an institutionally-mandated annual program audit. The audit is based on essential elements that are consistent with, and mirror the format of the ABET Self-Study. Details and reflections on this audit by two program directors are included.

Program outcomes are assessed directly and not inferred from course outcomes. Specific assignments are required in courses designated to provide the evidence in the form of student work that demonstrates the extent to which the program outcomes are met. The result of this process is to consistently gather data that is critical for the ABET Self-Study and provide ongoing curriculum continuous improvement at both the course and program levels. Key observations are that decision-making has become more formalized and subject to more rigorous, documented scrutiny. Faculty buy-in to the process has been very favorable because of the ease and clarity of the tasks to be done.

Introduction and Purpose

Undergraduate engineering programs are discovering the benefits and costs of continuous [1-10] improvement. Since the 2006-07 accreditation cycle ABET has required programs to implement a Continuous Improvement Process (CIP). The plan must demonstrate evidence of actions which improve the program based on the assessment and evaluation of a program’s objectives and outcomes. In the 2009-10 accreditation cycle the ABET Criteria for Accrediting

Kelnhofer, R., & Williams, S., & Petersen, O. (2010, June), Sustainable Assessment For Program Improvement And Abet Preparation Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15890

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