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Using Co Op Employer Surveys To Assess Abet Outcomes

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Cooperative Education Addresses ABET

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1540.1 - 12.1540.7



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Paper Authors


John Mathews Mississippi State University

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John M. (Mike) Mathews. Mike Mathews is currently the Associate Director of Cooperative Education and Assistant Professor of Cooperative Programs at Mississippi State University. He has been involved in Cooperative Education at Mississippi State University for 31 years and active in ASEE for over 20 years. He can be reached via email at

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Donna Reese Mississippi State University

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Donna S. Reese. Professor Reese is currently the Associate Dean for Academics and Administration for the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University and a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. She has been on the faculty at MSU for 17 years. She may be reached via email at

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

Using Co-op Employer Surveys to Assess ABET Outcomes


Like all colleges of engineering that have ABET accredited degree programs, the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University (MSU) is always on the look out for direct methods to assess whether or not its students are achieving the outcomes specified by its engineering programs. Each of our engineering programs has some assessment in place, but as we look for ways to simplify and streamline these processes, we are always on the look out for assessments that can be done at the college level to help off load some of the data gathering tasks from the departments. One such opportunity that presents itself at MSU is the cooperative education program. Although co-op experience is not required for our engineering majors, fully 50% of our engineering graduates do participate in this program. In addition, the cooperative education office has a history of extremely high return rates from surveys given to co-op employers to assess the cooperative education experience of its students. In the fall 2005, we undertook a process of developing an additional survey process for our cooperative education employers that would provide additional data for the student achievements of ABET outcomes a- k. Since we did not want to have a negative impact on the return rate of the current surveys, we held a focus group with a small group of employers to find out the best way to present these additional assessment questions without negatively impacting the return on our surveys. This paper will present the feedback from this focus group, the survey developed for this assessment, and the results from the first several semesters of the survey, including the affect on return rates.


Mississippi State University (MSU) is a public, land-grant, doctoral, research university classified as Doctoral/Research-Extensive by the Carnegie Foundation. Enrollment is approximately 16,000 students. The Bagley College of Engineering enrolls approximately 2,300 students, 1,700 of which are undergraduates. The College awards approximately 370 B.S. degrees per year through ten engineering programs (aerospace, biological, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, industrial, mechanical, software, and computer science). Demographically, approximately 12 percent of the Bagley College of Engineering undergraduates are African- American and 18 percent are female. Also, the Bagley College of Engineering ranks in the top 10 percent among U.S. colleges of engineering in research expenditures (~$50M).

MSU’s cooperative education program is one of the largest in the nation and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and its 10,000th co-op student. The program has approximately 584 participating students. The cooperative education program spans all colleges in the university, however, approximately 75% of the students involved in the cooperative education program are engineering students. The co-op office has been using an on-line student evaluation system for the last 10 years for employers to evaluate student participants in the program. Typically the co- op office sees about an 85-90% return rate for these student evaluations. Recent data indicates that 40-50% of the engineering graduates at MSU have participated in the co-op program. This makes the co-op employers a rich source of assessment information on student achievement of program outcomes. In 2006 the co-op office and college of engineering developed and implemented an assessment survey for use in determining student achievement of ABET

Mathews, J., & Reese, D. (2007, June), Using Co Op Employer Surveys To Assess Abet Outcomes Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1591

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