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Using Pre And Post Tests For Course Level Assessment

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

IE Accreditation and Program Issues

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1384.1 - 9.1384.8



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Paper Authors

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Mark Palmer

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Terri Lynch-Caris

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Matthew Sanders

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

Session 1657

Using Pre- and Post-Tests for Course Level Assessment

Terri Lynch-Caris, Mark Palmer, and Matthew S. Sanders Kettering University


The pre/post-test method of assessing student learning is discussed as implemented in the Industrial Engineering Department at Kettering University. The steps for implementation as well as the outcomes expected are presented. Three steps to implementation are considered. First, a process flow model of the relationship between all courses within the department to visually characterize prerequisite courses and independent courses is developed. Second, expectations of the process within the faculty and student body is agreed upon and communicated. Third, a test bank of questions to reflect basic knowledge required to successfully complete each course is created and maintained by the faculty.

Two primary outcomes are considered using the pre/post test assessment tool. First, the pre-test information from post-requisite courses can be shared to determine how well course topics are covered and retained. Second, the post-test results are analyzed and compared to pre-test results to determine if students gained the basic knowledge required to complete the course satisfactorily. The pre/post test assessment tool is discussed relative to a larger course level assessment methodology to be proposed university-wide.


The pre-test and post-test process is one assessment tool used to tap into students’ prior knowledge and to evaluate how well they have learned material in a given course. This process is used as an assessment tool in many educational applications. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the process for setting up this assessment tool in the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department at Kettering University


The well-known educators book “Classroom Assessment Techniques” describes the Background Knowledge Probe (Angelo, 1993, pg. 121) as a means to help instructors determine the most appropriate level at which to begin instruction. The authors propose sampling the students’ background knowledge before formal instruction on that topic begins. The Background Knowledge Probe provides feedback on the range of preparation among the students in a particular class. They further describe this Background Knowledge Probe to be used as pre- and

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Palmer, M., & Lynch-Caris, T., & Sanders, M. (2004, June), Using Pre And Post Tests For Course Level Assessment Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13407

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