Objective 3:  Assessment and Evaluation
 

Each partner institution will transition the assessment/evaluation effort on their campus to a "faculty-owned" initiative. In addition, the relationships between ABET 2000 and the Foundation Coalition assessment and evaluation activities will be documented Coalition-wide.

One of the major successes of Years 1–5 of the Foundation Coalition (FC) has been the national assessment and evaluation (A/E) effort. Our national assessment team has developed a robust, well-defined plan for the formal evaluation of FC curriculum efforts, and our A/E effort is recognized as a national model for the assessment and evaluation of undergraduate engineering curricula. Under the direction of our national team, each partner institution has implemented well-designed, meaningful assessment procedures on their own campus.

As we move into Years 6–10 of the Foundation Coalition, we will expand and intensify our existing Coalition-wide plan for the formal assessment of the FC curricula. (See Appendix D and the FC home page, http://www.foundation.ua.edu.) We will use the results of the Year-5 metaevaluation, in which professional external evaluators have examined and evaluated our assessment and evaluation program, to modify and expand it to improve the quality, impact, and effectiveness of what we are doing. In addition, all participating institutions will utilize this information as they prepare for upcoming ABET visits, and the relationships between ABET 2000 and the FC assessment and evaluation activities will be documented Coalition-wide. The presence of our national A/E team and a Coalition Director for Assessment and Evaluation ensures that this activity, as well as others, will be done in a cohesive manner. The duties of the Director for Assessment and Evaluation are detailed in Section 5.

During Years 6 through 10, the A/E effort will be embedded as a core component of our integrated operating environment. In the past, our A/E teams were somewhat isolated from other FC faculty efforts such as curriculum development. During the next five years we will ensure that the A/E effort becomes tightly integrated into our other FC activities (inclusive learning communities, responsive curricula, etc.). Specifically, we will transition the A/E effort on each campus to a "faculty-owned" initiative. In conjunction with Objective 2, Responsive Curricula, we will embed basic A/E practices into the course development process. Faculty will address A/E issues associated with a given course as they develop and teach the course. We believe that, by placing the teaching faculty in charge of this effort, we can raise our level of accountability with respect to meaningful assessment. Faculty who are actively involved with the construction of inclusive learning communities or responsive curricula now take ownership of the associated A/E effort. Feedback regarding the success of the initiative goes directly to the faculty involved as well as the national A/E team.

In addition to continuing longitudinal studies of students participating in FC curricula, individual campuses have identified a number of complementary projects that will take place at their institutions.

  • Groups of faculty across multiple FC campuses will establish discipline-based assessment tools (i.e., Hestenes-type instruments for the engineering disciplines).
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology will continue to coordinate the Coalition-wide A/E effort. In addition, plans are being made to establish a national center for the assessment of engineering education on this campus. Although this is independent of the FC, we will play a major role in its formation and benefit directly from its presence.
  • Arizona State University will work with faculty to establish mechanisms and guidelines for the formal development and clear articulation of goals and objectives for all engineering courses.
  • Texas A&M University Kingsville and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) will develop a faculty workbook detailing the specifics of formal student outcomes assessment, especially as related to ABET 2000.
  • University of Wisconsin and Texas A&M University will develop a model for faculty involvement in assessment and evaluation. This effort has already begun through activities such as the development of curriculum assessment process plans in which stakeholders (employees, faculty, and students) identify issues that have promoted a dynamic curriculum.
  • University of Alabama and UMD will assess the impact of early co-op programs on students and the appropriateness of conventional engineering exams (such as the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam) as assessment tools for undergraduate engineering education.
Last updated: October 24, 1998.

For information or questions, contact
Jeffrey E. Froyd