Much attention has been given to "outcome assessment". In the case of the Mechanical Engineering (ME) program, the major objective is the evaluation of the "product" (i.e., ME graduates) with respect to several factors. This exercise should answer such questions, such as: Have the students been prepared by our educational process for what they are to do? Did their education have any measurable improvements on their capabilities? And is the school really doing what it claims?
Outcomes Assessment Model
The initial preparation for ABET EC2000 accreditation can be dated back to Fall 1999, when a committee was formed by the Dean of the College of Engineering (CoE) at Southern University, and a college-wide assessment coordinator was named to chair the committee. This committee was charged with the task of developing a comprehensive outcomes assessment program for the CoE. In light of the recommendations made by many accrediting agencies, including ABET, regarding the requirement for an institutional outcomes assessment program, the college presented the preliminary results of its program to the Engineering Council of Visitors (ECoV) in the Spring of 2001. The proposed program was reviewed and subsequently approved by the ECoV. Consequently, each program in the CoE adopted the overall outcomes assessment framework and tailored it to the Program's individual mission. A handbook was developed to introduce the outcomes assessment model for all programs.
In order to improve the assessment process, the College of Engineering has now adopted to use LiveText as the assessment management tool. This tool was presented to the ABET representatives during the ABET accreditation visit in the Fall 2009 semester. In the Spring 2010 semester, a new College of Engineering Assessment Committee was established to plan and enhance the assessment system for the college. In order to achieve this goal, the following tasks were accomplished:
- The committee developed eleven (11) rubrics to assess the a-k ABET outcomes using LiveText
- All department chairs assisting by the department assessment committee revisited the mapping of their curriculum with respect to the a-k ABET outcomes and the University learning outcomes. Then, they selected a minimum of eight (8) courses from the curriculum where student learning outcomes will be assessed.
- The 11 ABET rubrics developed were tested on a few selected courses in the Spring 2011 semester.
- Course opinion surveys using LiveText are developed for the selected courses to seek the student's opinion on the intended outcomes for each course.
- Many workshops were conducted to train all College of Engineering faculty members to use LiveText as the assessment management tool.