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Systems Thinking Assessments: Approaches That Examine Engagement in Systems Thinking

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Systems Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Page Count

21

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37799

Download Count

67

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Paper Authors

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Kelley E. Dugan University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-1859-2230

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Kelley Dugan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. Before pursuing her Ph.D., Kelley worked in the consumer appliance industry for two years. Her current work focuses on the development and assessment of systems thinking skills. Research interests also include front-end design practices, socially engaged design, and sustainable design.

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Erika A. Mosyjowski University of Michigan

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Erika Mosyjowski is a research fellow and lecturer focusing on engineering education at the University of Michigan. She earned a B.A. in sociology and psychology from Case Western Reserve University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include cultural beliefs about what engineers do and who they are, students’ career thinking and trajectories, and ways to effectively facilitate more diverse, inclusive, and equitable engineering environments.

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Shanna R. Daly University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-4698-2973

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Shanna Daly is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. She has a B.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University. Her research characterizes front-end design practices across the student to practitioner continuum and studies the impact of developed front-end design tools on design success.

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Lisa R. Lattuca University of Michigan

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Lisa Lattuca, Professor of Higher Education and member of the Core Faculty in the Engineering Education Research Program at the University of Michigan. She studies curriculum, teaching, and learning in college and university settings, particularly how faculty attitudes, beliefs, and cultures influence curricular and instructional practices and how these in turn affect student learning.

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Abstract

While systems engineers rely on systems thinking skills in their work, given the increasing complexity of modern engineering problems, engineers across disciplines need to be able to engage in systems thinking, including what we term comprehensive systems thinking. Due to the inherent complexity of systems thinking, and more specifically comprehensive systems thinking, it is not easy to know how well students (and practitioners) are learning and leveraging systems thinking approaches. Thus, engineering managers and educators can benefit from systems thinking assessments.

A variety of systems thinking assessments exist that are relevant to engineers, including some focused on the demonstration of systems thinking knowledge or skills and others measuring attitudes, interests, or values related to systems thinking. Starting with a collection of systems thinking assessments from a systematic literature review conducted by our team, we analyzed in-depth those behavior-based assessments that included the creation of a visual representation and were open-ended, i.e., it did not presuppose or provide answers.

The findings from this in-depth analysis of systems thinking behavior-based assessments identified 1) six visualization types that were leveraged, 2) dimensions of systems thinking that were assessed and 3) tensions between the affordances of different assessments. In addition, we consider the ways assessments can be used. For example, using assessments to provide feedback to students or using assessments to determine which students are meeting defined learning goals. We draw on our findings to highlight opportunities for future comprehensive systems thinking behavior-based assessment development.

Dugan, K. E., & Mosyjowski, E. A., & Daly, S. R., & Lattuca, L. R. (2021, July), Systems Thinking Assessments: Approaches That Examine Engagement in Systems Thinking Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37799

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