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Using Standardized Examinations To Assess Chemical Engineering Programs

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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

Advisory Boards & Program Assessment

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1257.1 - 8.1257.8



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Paper Authors

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Shamsuddin Ilias

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Franklin King

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

Session #3413

Using Standardized Examinations to Assess Engineering Programs

Keith A. Schimmel, Franklin G. King, Shamsuddin Ilias, North Carolina A&T State University

Abstract The ABET EC2000 criteria require programs to have quality improvement processes in place to make decisions based on assessment data from student performance and program constituencies. Within this context, there is a need for development of additional quantitative measures that will be consistent over time and between instructors of whether students have mastered course learning objectives. This paper will discuss characteristics of valid quantitative assessment instruments for course learning objectives through a look at the development of the ABET EC2000 process in the chemical engineering program at North Carolina A&T State University.

The chemical engineering program at A&T has been experimenting with department developed standardized exam questions. This has lead to the development of a database of questions for core courses that are organized by course learning objective, degree of difficulty of question, and type of question (conceptual or analytical). The questions are delivered to students through a web-based homework system, WebAssign®. A comparison will be made between nationally normed tests, i.e., the FE exam, and department developed standardized exams. Student and faculty response to development and use of standardized tests will be discussed.

I. Introduction A variety of exams have been used to provide quantitative, summative assessment data for ABET EC2000 department level outcomes assessment processes.1,9 The use of the Fundamentals of Engineering exam that is developed and administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) 2,4,5,7,14-16 as well as Core Competency exams developed and administered by individual departments or colleges11,13 have been reported. These exams contain primarily multiple-choice, analytical questions with just a few conceptual questions. Online delivery and grading of the exams is available from some commercial vendors. Recently, there has been an effort to develop concept inventory questions for engineering core topics, including most of the core chemical engineering topics.6 These questions seek to measure a student’s understanding of physical concepts instead of analytical ability. These questions are just now becoming available for beta testing.

This paper reports on the start of an effort to compile a combination of analytical and conceptual multiple-choice questions into a database organized by course learning objective for core chemical engineering courses at North Carolina A&T State University. These questions may be delivered to students online via the WebAssign® homework system and automatically graded. The validity of individual questions can be determined through statistical analysis of student performance. The intent of putting together this assessment tool is to provide both formative and summative quantitative assessment data that is quick and easy for individual faculty members to obtain. It is hoped that once this type of assessment data is readily available for the chemical engineering faculty, they will use it to adjust their teaching to meet the demonstrated needs of the

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

Ilias, S., & King, F., & Schimmel, K. (2003, June), Using Standardized Examinations To Assess Chemical Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11878

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