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Using After Action Reports To Extend Examination Learning

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Tools of Teaching

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1248.1 - 7.1248.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Maher Murad

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

Main Menu Session 1630


Maher M. Murad

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown


Professors spend significant time preparing examinations designed to evaluate students’ learning. Once the tests are administered, the professor begins a tedious and laborious process of closely scrutinizing each student’s work, trying to determine if and where errors occurred in the solutions. Next, the graded exams are given back to the students with the encouragement for them to revisit each problem to see where they made mistakes. Guided by the professor’s comments, motivated students will do the review and learn from their errors.

The concept of After Action Reports (AAR) was specifically designed to extend every student’s learning beyond the exam. Each student is required to thoroughly analyze their own work to determine where they made specific errors. Students subsequently report their findings in an After Action Report submitted to the professor. The use of a report also helps students develop their writing skills since the professor reviews and comments on the After Action Reports prior to returning them to the students.

A pilot version of the After Action Report concept has been introduced in Engineering Statics, Engineering Economics and Highway Design classes. The students expressed an understanding and appreciation for the concept, endorsing the additional learning opportunity provided. This paper covers the details associated with the concept inception, development, implementation, and student responses of using After Action Reports as a method to extend the learning capabilities of an examination.


Exams are usually the basis to evaluate how well students learned course material. The value of exams as a learning tool has always been questioned. Some courses use papers or projects as the basis for evaluation instead. These methods possess the advantage of directing the attention of students to their writing but have the disadvantage of providing the instructor with no opportunity to evaluate how well the students mastered the basic ideas and skills being taught. (1)

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Murad, M. (2002, June), Using After Action Reports To Extend Examination Learning Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10478

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