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Use Of Student Portfolios For Outcomes Assessment Of A Software Engineering Program

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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

Curriculum Issues in Software Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1392.1 - 10.1392.11



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Paper Authors

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James McDonald

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Use of Student Portfolios for Outcomes Assessment of a Software Engineering Program James McDonald Monmouth University West Long Branch, New Jersey


For ABET accreditation of software engineering programs it is necessary to have a process in place to assess program outcomes that have been specified by the faculty. Monmouth University began its undergraduate software engineering program in 2000 and had its first graduates from that program in May 2004. To assess student achievement of program outcomes the University put into place a process for students to build portfolios and to have those portfolios reviewed by the faculty. The first formal evaluation of the contents of completed portfolios was conducted in spring 2004. This paper describes the process, the results of the review and the actions that have been taken as a result of that review. Several program improvements were made, including changes to specific course syllabi, sequencing of courses and changes in the curricular requirements. Methods for assisting students in construction of their portfolios and assisting faculty in reviewing the portfolios have also been developed. These methods include providing students with more precise guidelines for what to include in the portfolio, availability of a sample portfolio and scoring rubrics for use by the faculty during the formal review. The paper concludes with an outline of lessons learned and recommendations for other programs that are considering the use of portfolios for this purpose.

Introduction and Background

Portfolios have been utilized for many years in fields such as art and architecture to compile and publicize the capabilities of artists and architects. More recently schools of engineering have become interested in using portfolios to evaluate student progress and effectiveness of programs.

Panitz (1996) reported that a variety of portfolio formats had been designed for use at five engineering institutions which she investigated. Olds (1997) described a portfolio program that was initiated at the Colorado School of Mines in 1988 and which has been used as the basis for numerous small changes in a variety of programs at that institution. Brodeur (2002) outlined a portfolio-based assessment program that was developed for evaluating outcomes of a revised curriculum of the Aeronautics and Astronautics engineering program at MIT.

A number of authors have proposed and used portfolios to assess student progress in single courses and to assess achievement of specific outcomes across subsets of courses in engineering programs. Gunn, et al. (1997) describe how a portfolio was used to assess the effectiveness of a first year integrated curriculum. In that approach students were required to keep their work, review it periodically and discuss ways of organizing it. At the end of the semester students were

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

McDonald, J. (2005, June), Use Of Student Portfolios For Outcomes Assessment Of A Software Engineering Program Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15171

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015