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Using The Fundamentals Exam As A Legislative Performance Indicator

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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

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1261.1 - 8.1261.7

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Paper Authors

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William Craver

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Darrell Schoder

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Charles Turner

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Anthony Tarquin

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

Session 2793

Using the Fundamentals Exam as a Legislative Performance Indicator

Charles D. Turner, Department of Civil Engineering, Darrell Schroder, Assistant Dean, College of Engineering, Anthony Tarquin, Department of Civil Engineering William L. Craver, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract The faculty of the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) decided in 2000 to require all students in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and Industrial Engineering to take and pass the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveyors (NCEES) Fundamentals Exam (FE) before graduating. Additionally, passage of a competency examination is required for all students in these departments in order to enroll in upper division classes. This paper reports on the results of these actions.

The legislative budget committee in the State of Texas decided to require reporting of FE results for all University of Texas (UT) System schools offering engineering degrees in 1998. The stated purpose was that the results of the FE exam are to be used as a nationally normed assessment tool for UT System engineering school performance. The fear among some administrators is that the FE exam performance will be tied to funding of engineering programs at the various institutions. Anticipation of this future possibility led the faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering to require passage of the FE exam as an undergraduate degree requirement. The other departments followed suit. Since the ABET accreditation visit was scheduled for 2001, the FE exam was also adopted as an assessment tool. Quality control of students entering the upper division also became a concern because passage of the FE is tightly linked to performance in lower division coursework. Therefore, a competency exam for rising juniors was implemented as a quality control and assessment measure. An information program to inform students of the new measures and two sets of review opportunities were developed to ensure student success on the FE exam. Quantitative results of these new requirements and the impact on student attitudes and performance and the feed back loop to course modifications are reviewed.

State of Texas FE Performance Requirement The State of Texas has spent many years developing evaluation criteria for its various agencies and components. Texas public institutions with engineering programs are now required to report

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

Craver, W., & Schoder, D., & Turner, C., & Tarquin, A. (2003, June), Using The Fundamentals Exam As A Legislative Performance Indicator Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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