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Using E Portfolios To Develop And Assess Abet Aligned Competencies

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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

Assessment Strategies in BAE

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1246.1 - 8.1246.9



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Paper Authors

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Anthony Ellertson

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Steven Mickelson

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Thomas Brumm

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

Session 1810

Using ePortfolios to Develop and Assess ABET-Aligned Competencies

Thomas J. Brumm, Anthony Ellertson, and Steven K. Mickelson Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Iowa State University


The Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) Learning Community is using electronic portfolios (ePortfolios) for developing and assessing student competencies. These competencies are part of the Iowa State University’s (ISU) College of Engineering competency-based assessment program for ABET student outcomes. ABE students in their second semester English composition (rhetoric) course (exclusive to ABE Learning Community students) use electronic portfolios to present arguments on issues relevant to engineering and agriculture. This paper will discuss the extensive collaboration between the English instructor and ABE faculty in constructing the course objectives and syllabus, the process by which ABE students create their ePortfolios, how the ePortfolios are assessed, and how ePortfolios contribute to the development of ABET-aligned competencies.


In our department, the umbrella term “Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering Learning Community” has evolved to now encompass two complementary undergraduate programs available to our first- and second-year undergraduate students who are majoring in agricultural engineering or agricultural systems technology: the ABE learning community, which is created by having students co-enroll for specially selected linked courses, and the ABE living learning community, a reserved portion of a specific residence hall. Other features of the ABE learning community include peer mentors and tutors, faculty-student dinners, and student service learning opportunities. The ABE Learning Community has been described in detail in previously published papers.1, 2, 3

We see the ABE Learning Community as key to helping us achieve the intended student outcomes of our programs. These outcomes were developed to meet the ABET Criteria 2000. ABET Criterion 3, Program Outcomes and Assessment, states, “Engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have…” and presents a list of eleven specific outcomes, now well known as ABET (a-k) Outcomes4. At Iowa State, we decided that the ABET (a-k) Outcomes are too complex to measure directly.

Accordingly, we identified fourteen unique “ISU Competencies” as necessary and sufficient to measure the ABET (a-k) Outcomes.5, 6 The fourteen ISU Competencies have been mapped to the ABET (a-k) Outcomes that we adopted for the ABE program and validated through engagement with contributing constituents (Table 1). Each of the ABET-aligned Competencies has an independent set of observable and measurable Key Actions (Table 2). A web-based assessment tool for the Competencies and related Key Actions is now in use for students in cooperative and internship experiences7.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Ellertson, A., & Mickelson, S., & Brumm, T. (2003, June), Using E Portfolios To Develop And Assess Abet Aligned Competencies Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11860

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