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Tools For Assessing Student Outcomes: Use Of Faculty And Student Assessments

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Tools for Teaching and Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1200.1 - 8.1200.13

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Paper Authors

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Ann Anderson

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Richard Wilk

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

Tools for Assessing Student Outcomes: Use of Faculty and Student Assessments

Ann M. Anderson and Richard D. Wilk Department of Mechanical Engineering Union College Schenectady, NY

Abstract With the adoption of an outcomes-based approach to engineering education, it has become necessary to develop methods for assessing students’ abilities to meet program outcomes. In the mid 1990’s, a major reform was undertaken in the mechanical engineering curriculum at Union College. This was preceded by the development of a mission statement, program objectives, and specification of program-specific student outcomes. An initial assessment program to measure and evaluate the attainment of the outcomes was developed and implemented. Since then we have developed several additional assessment strategies. Our objective is to find the best way to maximize the useful information on student outcomes so that the faculty can make informed decisions about the program. As a small school we felt that it was important to include direct faculty input on students’ abilities. This paper will describe a technique in which faculty “graded” each individual graduating student on how well they met each program outcome. We will describe the faculty assessment process and present several ways of examining the results. We also compared the results to student self assessments. One interesting and challenging aspect of using multiple assessment strategies occurs when the results attained through each method yield conflicting data. We will describe the faculty assessment technique and discuss how we resolved conflicting information.

Introduction There has been a major change in engineering education in the last 10 years motivated by the adoption of ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 which is now being used for evaluating and accrediting engineering programs. This outcomes-based approach requires all accredited engineering programs to develop and implement an assessment process to evaluate the attainment of student outcomes and to use the results to improve the program.

At Union College we underwent a major curriculum revision in the mid 1990’s. This was preceded by the development of a mission statement and program objectives designed to achieve specified student outcomes. In developing these, we solicited input on the program from major constituencies including students, alumni, faculty and industry via a newly created departmental industrial advisory council. In addition, as part of the process we had to develop a methodology for measuring the attainment of the program outcomes by the students. This was done by defining measurable performance criteria for each specified outcome and then selecting or developing appropriate assessment tools for gathering data pertinent to each criterion.

The assessment tools used include course assessments, student course portfolios, senior exit “Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Anderson, A., & Wilk, R. (2003, June), Tools For Assessing Student Outcomes: Use Of Faculty And Student Assessments Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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