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Using Project Portfolios To Assess Design In Materials Science

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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

Useful Assessment in Materials Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1422.1 - 10.1422.14



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Paper Authors

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Marie Paretti Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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

Using Project Portfolios to Assess Design in Materials Science and Engineering M. C. Paretti

Department of Engineering Education & Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Virginia Tech


This paper evaluates the effectiveness of capstone design project portfolios as tools to assess student performance with respect to ABET’s EC2000 Criterion 3 outcomes. After reviewing the potential for comprehensive review inherent in capstone design projects, the paper describes the project portfolio approach that expands the traditional project report into a broader spectrum of communication activities to more fully capture the design cycle. It provides strategies for meaningfully implementing such assignments and summarizes the results of portfolio use over two years of capstone design sequences in a materials science and engineering curriculum. This approach leverages and expands the kinds of assignments common to many design courses (proposals, progress reports, final reports) to provide assessment information directed specifically to ABET. By carefully designing and evaluating capstone assignments with the full range of Criterion 3 outcomes in mind, departments can provide ample concrete evidence to document student performance.

Introduction: Capstone Design and Assessment

Communication assignments in capstone design courses traditionally range from a single comprehensive final project report (often with extensive appendices) at one end of the spectrum to a series of small documents that include proposals, progress reports, and final reports at the other end. Even in courses that include the full spectrum of written and oral documents, however, assignment design and assessment may not take full advantage of the broad range of information represented by those texts. By explicitly designing a portfolio of writing and speaking assignments to capture and assess student performance across the design process, faculty can create a concrete, measurable representation of student outcomes with respect to ABET a-k. Such portfolios, when combined with targeted assessment rubrics, can provide meaningful avenues to track program development and success over time.

In recent years, these capstone courses have been the subject of extensive discussion among engineering educators. The design, development, teaching, and assessment of these courses have provided a rich focus for presentations at both FIE and ASEE conferences as well as for articles in the Journal of Engineering Education, the International Journal of Engineering Education, and many disciplinary educational journals. In fact, the subject is so critical to engineering education the International Journal of Engineering Education devoted a special double issue to “Design Education for the 21st Century,” drawing heavily on the Mudd Design Workshop

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

Paretti, M. (2005, June), Using Project Portfolios To Assess Design In Materials Science Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14814

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