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The Need for Holistic Implementation of SMART Assessment

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Conference

2020 ASEE North Central Section conference

Location

Morgantown, West Virginia

Publication Date

March 27, 2020

Start Date

March 27, 2020

End Date

May 20, 2020

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/35749

Download Count

60

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Paper Authors

biography

Ron Averill Michigan State University

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Ron Averill joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 1992. He currently serves as the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research focus is on pedagogy, design optimization of large and complex systems, and design for sustainable agriculture.

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Geoffrey Recktenwald Michigan State University

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Geoff Recktenwald is a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University. Geoff holds a PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University and Bachelor degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from Cedarville University. His research interests are focused on best practices for student learning and student success. He is currently developing and researching SMART assessment, a modified mastery learning pedagogy for problem based courses. He created and co-teaches a multi-year integrated system design (ISD) project for mechanical engineering students. He is a mentor to mechanical engineering graduate teaching fellows and actively champions the adoption and use of teaching technologies.

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Sara Roccabianca Michigan State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7742-9062

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Sara Roccabianca is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University (MSU). She was born and raised in Verona, Italy and received her B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Trento, Italy. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Trento in 2011. She then was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, working on cardiovascular mechanics.
Sara’s research at MSU focuses on urinary bladder mechanics and growth and remodeling associated with bladder outlet obstruction (e.g., posterior urethral valves in newborn boys or prostate benign hyperplasia in men over the age of 60). Her goals are to (i) develop a micro-structurally motivated mechanical model to describe the non-linear elastic behavior of the urinary bladder wall, (ii) develop a stress-mediated model of urinary bladder adaptive response, and (iii) understand the fundamental mechanisms that correlate the mechanical environment and the biological process of remodeling in the presence of an outlet obstruction.

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Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez Michigan State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7195-7414

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¬Dr. Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez obtained his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from The National University of Colombia in 2000 (Summa Cum Laude), and a MSc degree in Thermal Engineering in 2004 from the Universidad de Antioquia. The same year, he joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Fulbright Scholar to pursue a MS and a PhD degrees in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, which he completed in 2010. After concluding his PhD program, he joined the Physics Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and later became a Research Scientist. At Los Alamos, Dr. Mejia-Alvarez conducted research in shock-driven instabilities for the experimental campaign on nuclear fusion of the DOE-National Nuclear Security Administration. In 2016, Dr. Mejia-Alvarez joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University, where he is currently the director of the Laboratory for the Physics of Living Tissue Under Severe Interactions and the Laboratory for Hydrodynamic Stability and Turbulent Flow. Dr. Mejia-Alvarez was the recipient of the 2011 Francois Frenkiel Award for Fluid Dynamics from the American Physical Society, and the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois.

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Abstract

A new assessment model has been developed and tested during the past four years at Michigan State University. This new approach has been shown to significantly increase students’ problem solving proficiency while encouraging more effective study habits and a positive learning mindset. We refer to this new approach as SMART Assessment - short for Supported Mastery Assessment using Repeated Testing.

SMART Assessment aims to reduce or eliminate ineffective study strategies that many students are now using to pass STEM courses. These practices include: 1) copying of homework solutions from online resources; and 2) memorization of a small number of problem solutions that can be used to mimic understanding and maximize partial credit on exams. Enabled by technology and social networking, the rapid proliferation of these detrimental strategies is increasing, and their long term impacts are just now being fully realized. Based on our observations, the net effect is that the current level of learning is well below what is needed for an engineering graduate and much lower than most assessment methods would indicate. This is a world-wide trend, and its potential consequences are perilous.

When implemented holistically, the SMART Assessment model has produced consistently positive results, irrespective of instructor or student cohort. Compared to a standard assessment model with graded homework and “correct approach”-based partial credit on exams, students in courses that used SMART Assessment scored between two and three letter grades (20-30 points out of 100) higher on common exams designed to assess mastery. Preliminary results suggest that women and men perform equally well under this model. Implementation has now begun at other universities and in additional courses, where early positive results and feedback indicate that the approach is transferable among universities and department cultures.

There have been a small number of unsuccessful implementations of SMART Assessment, each of them notably omitting important components of the system. In this paper, we discuss the key principles and components of SMART Assessment as well as their interdependencies. We provide a post-mortem assessment of successful and unsuccessful implementations to serve as a guide to instructors and programs who may choose to implement this approach in the future.

Averill, R., & Recktenwald, G., & Roccabianca, S., & Mejia-Alvarez, R. (2020, March), The Need for Holistic Implementation of SMART Assessment Paper presented at 2020 ASEE North Central Section conference, Morgantown, West Virginia. https://strategy.asee.org/35749

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