Using Portfolios to Assess a Chemical Engineering Program


  • Barbara M. Olds Colorado School of Mines
  • Ronald L. Miller Colorado School of Mines


Special section on "ABET Engineering Criteria 2000".

At the Colorado School of Mines we have been assessing student outcomes - both in the core and in the major - for over a decade.  From the beginning, we chose to use portfolios as the major component of our assessment plan.   In this paper, we briefly describe the history of our assessment program, sketch the assessment process that we use, list the advantages and disadvantages of portfolios, and then focus on the use of portfolios as a major instrument of chemical engineering program assessment and evaluation, including the lessons we have learned about what works and what does not.

Author Biographies

Barbara M. Olds, Colorado School of Mines

Barbara M. Olds is Principal Tutorof the McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs for Engineers and Professor of Liberal Arts and International Studies at the Colorado School of Mines, where she has taught for the past fifteen years. She is chair of CSM's assessment committee and has given numerous workshops and presentations on assessment in engineering education.

Ronald L. Miller, Colorado School of Mines

Ronald L. Miller is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Refining at the Colorado School of Mines, where he has taught chemical engineering and interdisciplinary courses and conducted research in educational methods for thirteen years. He is chair of the Chemical Engineering Department Assessment Committee and acting chair of the CSM Assessment Committee.