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The REAP Project: Reaping the Benefits of High-stakes Assessment Frequency Boosters

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 2

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George E. Hassoun Notre Dame University - Louaize, Lebanon Orcid 16x16

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G. Hassoun received the Licence en Physique degree from the Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon, in 1982, the Mastère en Avionique diploma from ENSAE, Toulouse, France, in 1984, the M.S. degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, in 1989, and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, in 1996.

In 1997, he worked as a Senior Research Assistant at the University of New South Wales - Sydney, with the Satellite Navigation and Positioning Group, Department of Geomatic Engineering. In 1998, he joined the Avionics Group of the Air Operations Division DSTO – South Australia, as a Research Scientist.

Since 2001, he has been an Assistant Professor with the Electrical, Computer and Communication Engineering Department at Notre Dame University – Louaize, Lebanon. His research interests include control, avionics, navigation and guidance, optimization and estimation theories, in addition to aerospace applications. He is presently interested in the application of signals and systems theory to engineering education.

Dr. Hassoun is a current member of the American Society for Engineering Education.

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This Work-in-Progress paper reports on the current status of the Repository of Engineering Assessment Pools project (REAP). Motivated by a recently suggested model of the engineering assessment process, this project aims at increasing the frequency of high-stakes engineering assessments without exhausting the time resources of engineering educators, while providing engineering students with a comfortable range of quality, evaluation accuracy, and flexibility in an environment where academic honesty is of utmost importance.

Based on signals and systems theory, the abovementioned model stipulates that a typical engineering assessment could be modeled by an ideal sampler which samples the mind of the engineering student for the purpose of generating the engineering knowledge error signal, consisting of the difference between the desired and the sampled knowledge signals. The error signal is used to improve and evaluate learning by the student and the educator, respectively. Accordingly, if the mind sampling frequency is insufficient, both learning and evaluation may suffer.

For many engineering schools, boosting the assessment frequency often means investing in academic support or tutoring, or exhausting the time resources of the engineering educator. Under certain conditions, the standard, evaluation accuracy, and flexibility of these assessments may be questionable, especially when the level of academic dishonesty is high. To address these problems, project REAP could be defined as a Blackboard-based, self-graded, multi-threaded, high-stakes engineering assessment frequency booster incorporating redundant randomization and error tolerance.

Implemented and continuously improved since Spring 2014, the REAP project consists of a series of question pools associated with a number of engineering subjects ranging from circuit analysis to control theory. These engineering questions are used to systematically build high-stakes assessments designed to test the various skills of engineering students with minimal educator preparation and evaluation/grading efforts. This paper describes the approach followed to design these engineering questions, the major components and the format of each question, in addition to the methods adopted to improve evaluation accuracy, academic honesty and the margin of flexibility of each assessment question.

Some interesting features of the REAP project are particularly discussed, including the “learning before, during, and after” feature, and the “students evaluating their own assessments” feature. The current version of the REAP project, called “the Hybrid Exam” is also discussed. Whereas the learning and evaluation improvements are long-term objectives expected to affect the (slow-moving) engineering student learning system, some short-term benefits are highlighted including the significant savings in assessment preparation and evaluation/grading.

Finally, a number of limitations of the current version of the REAP project are described and several future directions sought to address these limitations are outlined.

Hassoun, G. E. (2019, June), The REAP Project: Reaping the Benefits of High-stakes Assessment Frequency Boosters Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33418

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