ASSESSING AND EVALUATING THE STUDENT OUTCOMES IN LINE WITH CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT PROCESS - A CASE STUDY IN ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM
This paper presents the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) through assessing and evaluating the level of attainment of the student outcomes (SOs) which were implemented for better Assessment and Evaluation (A&E) of the learning outcomes adopted from those set by ABET EAC (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Engineering Accreditation Commission) in Program Criteria for Environmental and Similarly Named Engineering Programs as of 2009. CIP comprises of taking remedial actions/decisions, generating recommendations for change in case needed, and implementing recommendations obtained from the results of the SOs A&E process in Environmental Engineering Undergraduate Program (EEUP) of Istanbul Technical University (ITU). ITU is one of the top-ranked public universities in Turkey serving to more than 22,000 undergraduate students and among the higher education institutions in the world with 25 undergraduate programs as the highest number of internationally accredited institution by ABET EAC.
As for all engineering programs, some of the most challenging tasks for the EEUP at ITU have been designing an effective curriculum, and structuring sound and effective ways of assessing and evaluating SOs. Accordingly and in compliance with ITU’s quality assurance strategies, which are also in line with the ABET’s accreditation criteria, 4-years EEUP curriculum was revised through improvement of several core courses, adding new courses to the program, including external partners for evaluation (i.e., alumni and professionals), and also by implementation of an A&E process run each academic year so as to determine the level of achievement in realizing the pre-set learning outcomes of the curriculum. Among those, the outcome- and performance indicator (PI)-based education has been performed regularly at EEUP of ITU.
Within this scope, the strategic plan structured and implemented by the ITU EEUP for assessment of the level of attainment of SOs is conducted using direct (i.e., course portfolios, specific exam questions, laboratory reports and term paper assignments/presentations, home-work assignments, internally developed Outcome Based Assessment Exams (OBEx), Graduate Design Project presentations), and indirect (i.e., senior exit survey and internship surveys) assessment tools. Moreover, faculty survey, Advisory Board meetings, student portfolios, and student activities are also used as the additional assessment tools which proved to be more comprehensive and informative for providing details on what is actually assessed, how it is assessed, and how it is graded. Hence, this paper presents an extensive description of steps taken to ensure consistency among students’ works (projects, homework assignments etc.) by the application of the specifically prepared grading rubrics, and an overview of the overall grading system for the courses in EEUP.
The study is supported by ITU CE3–Center for Excellence in Engineering Education.