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The Case For Ongoing Student Course Assessment

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Student Learning and Research

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1266.1 - 10.1266.10



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Paper Authors

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Abi Aghayere

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

Session 3249

The Case for Ongoing Student Course Assessment Abi Aghayere College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Rochester Institute of Technology


Most colleges in the United States use end-of-term course assessment as the main feedback mechanism from students. By using this method of summative assessment, students are able to rate the course, the performance of the instructor, and what they have learned in the course, among other things. One drawback of the end-of-term feedback is that the current students are not able to benefit from any improvements in the course that may result from their feedback.

To overcome this drawback, the author explores in this paper the use of ongoing assessment of student understanding of course topics throughout the quarter using module surveys. In this paper, the author presents the advantages of the ongoing assessment technique, the survey data from online and on-campus sections of the author’s structural analysis course, and feedback from students regarding the effectiveness of the module surveys. This continuous improvement process has been successfully adopted in the author’s structural analysis, structural steel design and reinforced concrete design courses. The analysis of the data obtained from administering this survey to students in the structural analysis course is presented. Based on the survey data and the students’ feedback, it can be concluded that ongoing formative assessment methods enhance student learning and should be adopted in Engineering Technology (ET) courses as one way of satisfying the “closed loop” continuous improvement process now required by the accrediting agencies.


Many institutions in the United States use some form of summative evaluation at the end of the term for the courses they offer. Through use of the end-of-term surveys, students rate the instructor, the course delivery method, the text book and other aspects of the course, but they do not benefit from any improvements or modifications to the course that may result from their feedback because these surveys are administered to the students toward the end of the term. Moreover, the instructor is not likely to easily and quickly identify students who may be struggling in the course until the student fails an exam, by which time it may be too late. This is an obvious drawback of the summative evaluation approach.

The author is not aware of any ET program that uses ongoing assessment of topic-specific intended learning outcomes to obtain immediate student feedback that can benefit current students.1 This may be due partly to the amount of resources and time required to carry out these surveys and analyze the data obtained. The author has previously used this continuous and ongoing assessment technique to compare student learning in a face-to-face on-campus class and an online distance class,1 finding no significant differences in student learning. Nancy Hunt2 carried out mid-semester surveys and reported positive impact on student learning. Morgan and Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Aghayere, A. (2005, June), The Case For Ongoing Student Course Assessment Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14703

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