To comply with ABET/EAC Accreditation Criterion 4, engineering Programs must carry out regular documented procedures for assessing and enhancing student attainment in that Program’s student outcomes. Furthermore, the Program’s student outcomes must include the seven ABET/EAC Student Outcomes, SOs 1-7, which are enumerated in ABET/EAC Accreditation Criterion 3. These regular documented procedures, for assessing and enhancing student attainment in the Program’s designated student outcomes, are collectively denoted "Continuous Improvement" (CI).
A practical, faculty-managed CI regimen was recently adopted by our institution’s BS ME Program. The core building block of this CI scheme are its seven SO committees, one for each ABET/EAC SO. Each SO committee consists of three to four faculty, and each committee has broad oversight responsibility for student attainment in its respective SO. The tasks of each SO committee include: (i) characterizing and/or refining the performance indicators for its SO; (ii) selecting a specific summative assessment instrument for each performance indicator in a given academic year; (iii) reviewing and evaluating completed assessments; (iv) analyzing the curricular scaffolding of the SO within the Program; and (v) making specific curricular recommendations, for enhancing student attainment in its SO, to the Program faculty for consideration.
Our Program’s CI regimen is facilitated by a program Assessment Coordinator, who convenes the meetings of the seven individual SO committees and documents the respective committees’ deliberations and recommendations. The Assessment Coordinator also arranges the specific assessments requested by the SO committees, tabulates the results, and archives samples of the assessments. For direct assessment, the Assessment Coordinator recruits two faculty to separately assess their own personal copy of the same twenty samples of student work; this procedure has elevated the faculty's respect for, and confidence in, the assessment process. The Assessment Coordinator also documents any CI-relevant discussion that takes place in academic meetings, such as department meeting or college retreats. Finally, the Assessment Coordinator maintains all CI-relevant data in an electronic database, and ensures that documentation needed for Program accreditation is up to date.
Thus far our Program’s CI regimen has both engaged the faculty and resulted in several specific curricular adjustments that have enhanced our Program's alignment with the ABET/EAC SO 1-7. Our Program’s experience to date will be described in this paper.
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