A Quantitative Course-Level Strategy for Using Outcomes-Based Assessment to Guide Continuous Improvement


  • Joseph J. Biernacki Tennessee Technological University


The ABET Engineering Criteria Program Outcomes and Assessment presents faculty, department heads, and college administrators with the challenge to actually demonstrate that their graduates have a broad range of abilities. This challenge has precipitated an unprecedented outcomes-based movement in engineering education. One possible course-level outcomes assessment strategy has been developed and tested in various learning environments. Course syllabi were developed around chosen ABET criteria, course requirements defined, and the ABET Outcomes mapped to each requirement. Quantitative performance information was gathered for each student’s performance not only for each requirement, but also against the outcomes criteria. As an end result, a complete grade report including an “outcomes-based scorecard” was produced. Using this method allows an instructor to tailor the requirements to emphasize various outcomes criteria, and to observe student performance against outcomes in both formative (ongoing) and summative (at the end) modes and to provide a quantitative record for continuous course-level improvement. 

Author Biography

Joseph J. Biernacki, Tennessee Technological University

Joseph J. Biernacki received his B.S. from Case Western Reserve University (1980) and his MS. (1983) and Doctor of Engineering (1988) from Cleveland State University His research interests include multiscale characterization of chemical and transpon processes in materials, microfluidics, and engineering education. He can be contacted at Tennessee Technological University, Box 5013, Cookeville, TN 38501, jbiernacki@tntech.edu, phone 931-372-3667, fax 931-372-3667.