Asee peer logo

Using the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam as an Assessment Tool for Engineering Schools and Their Libraries

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Libraries Division Technical Session 2: Special Topics

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jean L. Bossart University of Florida Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Jean Bossart is an Associate Engineering Librarian at the University of Florida (UF). She assists students with research, data support, and citation management. She investigates and integrates creative technologies, such as 3D printing into the STEM discipline library services. She has a BS in chemical engineering and MS in environmental engineering from UF, over 20 years of experience in industry and consulting, and is a licensed professional engineer in Florida.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, part one of the two-part exam for licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE), can be used as an assessment tool for university engineering schools and their engineering libraries. By analyzing their engineering students’ FE exam results, as provided by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), university engineering libraries can assess their collections and determine if they meet the needs of their engineering students. This paper will provide a case study of how to use the NCEES Subject Matter Reports to evaluate engineering programs, departments, curriculums, courses, and library collections. More than 40,000 engineering seniors took the FE exam in 2019. As the only nationwide engineering exam for college seniors, the FE exam is an excellent resource for feedback on how well students meet the outcomes prescribed by selective Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) accreditation criteria. The NCEES offers institutions free reports that break down the performance of their students on the FE exam. These reports, called Subject Matter Reports, are useful for institutions to evaluate their departments over time, revising curriculums as necessary, and comparing their institution to their peer institutions. Distributed biannually each January and July, the reports provide in-depth analyses of how students performed on the FE exam relative to peers from other ABET-accredited programs who declared the same major and who chose the same discipline-specific exam. For assessment purposes, the focus of the exam is on performance in specific subjects rather than overall passing rates. An engineering program that requires all their students to take the exam, regardless of whether they require students to pass the exam to graduate, can use the exam results as a curriculum evaluation tool.

Bossart, J. L. (2021, July), Using the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam as an Assessment Tool for Engineering Schools and Their Libraries Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38003

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015