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What's In It For Me? Engineering Educators Respond To Criteria Based Evaluation Methods

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1157.1 - 6.1157.15



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Paper Authors

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Anna Phillips

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Paul Palazolo

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Scott Yost

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What’s in it for me? Engineering Educators Respond to Criteria-Based Evaluation Methods

A. Phillips, S. Yost, P. Palazolo University of Memphis/ University of Kentucky/ University of Memphis


This study describes the response of two undergraduate engineering professors at different universities to a new criteria-based system of evaluation for their written lab reports. Both professors have worked with the same writing consultant in designing the criteria for evaluation in each assignment, and after only one semester, both have noted both negative and positive effects of using such a system.

v There were three primary goals in this research applied to criteria-based evaluation: to reduce subjectivity associated with traditional holistic methods of assessment in

v engineering classes

v to decrease the amount of time the engineering professors actually spend in evaluation to assist in promoting student/professor interaction in discussing evaluation problems The pilot audience for this research consisted of two undergraduate civil engineering courses at different universities: a senior-level fluids course (n=52) and a sophomore-level computation course (n=38). Results were collected through triangulated measurement devices, and initial results indicate that at the semester mid-point, two of the three goals have been reached.

Preliminary findings report that students have also reported distinct advantages with this method of assessment: they know what to expect, they have access to the criteria before and during preparation of the assignment, and the system seems fair.

Mid-semester disadvantages include increased time for both instructors in renovating, customizing, and designing the evaluation criteria for the assignments, but both professors attribute this excess to a “learning curve” associated with the new system, and both expect the advantages of the system to outweigh short-term complaints. In addition, both professors plan to extend this system of assessment to other Civil Engineering courses in both universities.


In the fall semester of 2000, two undergraduate civil engineering instructors in different universities pilot tested a form of criteria-based assessment for their lab assignments with three primary goals:

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society of Engineering Education

Phillips, A., & Palazolo, P., & Yost, S. (2001, June), What's In It For Me? Engineering Educators Respond To Criteria Based Evaluation Methods Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--10026

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