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WIP: Standards-Based Grading for Electric Circuits

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Engineering Division Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Jay Wierer Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Jay Wierer is an associate professor of electrical engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).

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The study of electric circuits is a common course (or courses) in most electrical and computer engineering programs. Several ECE courses depend on the fundamentals introduced and hopefully learned in the electric circuits course(s). Because mastery of each of these fundamental concepts is essential for future courses, the use of standards-based grading (SBG) is appealing, as it measures proficiency on an objective-by-objective basis. SBG has been implemented in several fundamental undergraduate engineering courses, including fluid mechanics [2], thermodynamics [3], signals and systems [4, 5], and software verification [6]. In electric circuits, other grading strategies and interventions have been used, such as using team-based learning [7], reflection and metacognition [8], and mastery-based grading [9]. It should be noted that, while SBG and mastery-based grading are quite similar approaches, one major difference in the author’s approach to SBG is that all-or-nothing mastery is not required on any assignment. This paper studies the use of SBG in the author’s freshman- and sophomore-level electric circuits courses. In these electric circuits courses, course learning objectives have been identified based on program-approved course learning outcomes. An assessment schedule was created so that each CLO would be assessed multiple times throughout the course. Rubrics were developed for each CLO, and these were used to grade all assessment problems for the CLO. Proficiency on each CLO was assessed using these rubrics, and the final course grade was calculated from a weighted average of the objective assessment scores, combined with other assessments, such as homework and laboratory assignments. This paper analyzes the effectiveness of the introduction of SBG in the introductory circuits course. The study consists of a comparison of course objective assessment between students who were enrolled in the author’s Circuits I courses before and since the implementation of SBG. Although assessment of final exam data show a decrease in final exam objective performance after the implementation of SBG, course grades are unaffected by the change, and students are more aware of strengths and weaknesses in essential course objectives.

Wierer, J. (2022, August), WIP: Standards-Based Grading for Electric Circuits Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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