Introduction and Invitation
Constructing resources for assessment and
instruction related to the eleven student outcomes contained in
Criterion 3 of the ABET Engineering Criteria requires contributions
across the entire engineering community. If you have one or more
resources (for example, helpful papers, survey forms, assessment
materials, instructional materials) for assessment and/or
instructional related to outcome a click here. Please indicate whether and how you
would like your contribution to be acknowledged. Thanks for
contributing the growing understanding of how we might help
engineering students develop knowledge and skills that they will
draw upon throughout their careers.
Learning Objectives
The first step in selecting assessment and instructional approaches
for a learning outcome is to formulate learning objectives that
support the outcome. Learning objectives describe expectations associated
with the outcome in terms of expected and observable performances.
Several researchers have already constructed learning objectives
and these may provide worthwhile starting points for others.
Expectations to apply knowledge of science, mathematics and engineering
are prevalent in many engineering courses. As a result, Felder and
Brent [1] suggest that faculty members will be
able to use their usual learning objectives for their engineering
courses. A team of researchers (Larry Shuman, Mary E. BesterfieldSacre,
Harvey Wolfe, Cynthia J. Atman, Jack McGourty, Ronald L. Miller,
Barbara M. Olds, and Gloria M. Rogers) working a NSFsupported project,
Engineering Education:
Assessment Methodologies and Curricula Innovation, used Bloom's
Taxonomy to develop and organize a set of learning objectives
for outcome 3a (apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering)
[2]. They developed learning objectives for all
six levels of learning in Bloom's taxonomy for two outcome elements:
 Apply knowledge of mathematics
 Apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals
The number and complexity of their outcomes elements is considerably
simpler than elements for other outcomes.
Outcome 3a is one outcome where each engineering major (chemical,
civil, electrical, mechanical, etc) might invest thought to develop
program outcomes specific to their engineering discipline. For example,
faculty members in electrical engineering at the University of North
Dakota have several outcomes that are specific to electrical engineering
[3].
Assessment Approaches
In a report from the National Research Council, Knowing What Students
Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment [4],
assessment, once expectations have been constructed, rests on three
pillars: cognition, observation, and interpretation.
Theories of Cognition
Abilities to apply knowledge of engineering, science, and mathematics
might be demonstrated in many ways. For example, students might
solve engineering problems. If this is the case, outcome a overlaps
with outcome
e. Students might design a component or system using their knowledge
of mathematics, science, and engineering. If this is the case, outcome
a overlaps with outcome
c. Therefore, outcome a is often linked to other outcomes.
Applying their knowledge requires that students have more than
the ability to recall factual knowledge. Conceptual understanding
would also be expected. Recognizing the importance of conceptual
understanding, researchers have developed many instruments to test
conceptual understanding of physics, chemistry, and engineering
science. Information about these instruments and links to additional
resources can be found on the Concept
Inventory web page of the Foundation
Coalition.
Under construction (12 January 2005)
Instructional Approaches
Under construction
