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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Innovations in Teaching and Research in Physics or Engineering Physics I

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1197.1 - 23.1197.19



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Paper Authors


Teresa L. Larkin American University

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Teresa L. Larkin is an Associate Professor of Physics Education and Faculty Liaison to the Pre-engineering Program at American University. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in Physics and Science Education from Kansas State University. Dr. Larkin is involved with Physics Education Research (PER) and has published widely on topics related to the assessment of student learning in introductory physics and engineering courses. Noteworthy is her work with student writing as a learning and assessment tool in her introductory physics courses for non-majors. She has been an active member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for over 25 years. Dr. Larkin served on the Board of Directors for ASEE from 1997-1999 as Chair of Professional Interest Council (PIC) III and as Vice President of PICs. Dr. Larkin has received numerous national and international awards including the ASEE Distinguished Educator and Service Award from the Physics and Engineering Physics Division in 1998. Dr. Larkin received the Outstanding Teaching in the General Education Award from AU in 2000. In 2000 – 2001 she served as a National Science Foundation ASEE Visiting Scholar. In 2010 she was honored at the XI Conference on Engineering and Technology Education (INTERTECH 2010) in Ilhéus, Brazil with an award in Recognition of Global Outreach and Contributions to the fields of Engineering and Technology Education Worldwide. Dr. Larkin is the author of a book chapter published in 2010 entitled “Women’s Leadership in Engineering” in K. O’Connor (Ed.) Gender and Women’s Leadership: A Reference Handbook (Vol 2, pp. 689 – 699). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

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Jessica Uscinski American University

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Whether a physics department is situated within an engineering program or within a liberal artsprogram, assessment can play an important part of overall program development and curricularenhancement. Regardless of the accrediting agency, assessment is of critical importance at theinstitutional level as well. At the 2007 ASEE conference in Honolulu, we reported on acomplete redesign of the curriculum for the physics major at XX University. Since our earlierreport we have continued with annual assessments, focusing each year on one or two of thecourses within our overall program. These annual assessments have allowed us to pinpoint thestrengths and weaknesses of our redesigned curriculum, and have led to additional curricularrevisions and changes. In this paper, we report on these curricular revisions and changes, withan emphasis on our efforts from 2007 forward. With a focus on the learning outcomes for ourprogram, we will share how we have used an assessment-based framework to support ourcurricular revisions. In addition, we will discuss the goals and objectives we have created to helpus achieve the intended learning outcomes. As appropriate, we will share specific examples ofour assessment plan, featuring strategies and tools used for individual physics courses. Witheach example we will present a discussion of how our plan provides us with critical and timelyinformation about what, and how, our physics students are learning. While assessment is oftennot viewed as a favorite item on the “to do” list of any faculty member or administrator, we havefound enormous value in the continued attention we place on our annual assessment efforts. Wehope that by sharing the evolution of our curricular efforts, others will find useful ideas andstrategies that could be adapted to an existing assessment plan; or, that could be used to helpbuild the foundation for a new one.

Larkin, T. L., & Uscinski, J. (2013, June), THE EVOLUTION OF CURRICULUM ASSESSMENT WITHIN THE PHYSICS PROGRAM AT AMERICAN UNIVERSITY Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22582

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