Asee peer logo

Work-in-Progress: A Structured Approach to Graduate Program Assessment

Download Paper |


2021 Illinois-Indiana Regional Conference



Publication Date

April 16, 2021

Start Date

April 16, 2021

End Date

April 17, 2021

Conference Session

Classroom Methodologies

Tagged Topic

Classroom methodologies

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


John H. Mott Purdue University at West Lafayette (PPI) Orcid 16x16

visit author page

John H. Mott is an Associate Professor in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology at Purdue University. Dr. Mott serves as the Director of the Advanced Aviation Analytics Center of Research Excellence (A3IR-CORE) at Purdue. His research is focused on the modeling of distributed transportation data and the development of related tools to facilitate improvements to the safety and efficiency of transportation systems.

visit author page


Mary E. Johnson Ph.D. Purdue University at West Lafayette (PPI) Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Mary E. Johnson is a Professor and Associate Head for Graduate Studies in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology (SATT) at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She earned her BS, MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington. After 5 years in aerospace manufacturing as an IE, Dr. Johnson joined the Automation & Robotics Research Institute in Fort Worth and was a program manager for applied research programs. Fourteen years later, she was an Industrial Engineering assistant professor at Texas A&M - Commerce before joining the Aviation Technology department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in 2007 as an Associate Professor. She is a Co-PI on the FAA Center of Excellence for general aviation research known as PEGASAS and leads the Graduate Programs in SATT. Her research interests are aviation sustainability, data driven process improvement, and aviation education.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Graduate programs may use assessments in preparation for accreditation. There are numerous and significant challenges that underlie the assessment of technical graduate programs. Such challenges include the number of core courses taken by every graduate student, which is generally small, and the timeframe over which those courses are taken, which is normally three to four semesters. Such a program design precludes the outcome assessment typically associated with technical accredited programs at the undergraduate level. The approach taken at one Midwestern university is to evaluate the program at three levels. At the graduate school level, each student’s graduate committee assesses that student on achievement in five categories of competence. In addition, the students are asked to self-assess their individual level of achievement when nearing graduation. These results are summarized at the program level. A third level is evidence-based. Data from courses is used in the assessment of competencies. The overarching structure is based on the graduate school learning competencies that were developed at the university level and are common to all graduate programs. Each department may then amplify the basic competencies to include outcomes specific to its programs. The level of achievement in each of the competencies is summarized in a department-level report. This report is reviewed with the graduate faculty and with the program’s Industry Advisory Board to solicit inputs and suggestions for improvement. A culture of continuous improvement is facilitated through documentation of program improvement suggestions and disposition. This paper describes the structured approach and the outcomes of the pilot assessment using this approach.

Mott, J. H., & Johnson, M. E. (2021, April), Work-in-Progress: A Structured Approach to Graduate Program Assessment Paper presented at 2021 Illinois-Indiana Regional Conference, Virtual. 10.18260/1-2--38286

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