BSEE Assessment Plan

An assessment plan has been developed and put in place to ensure that graduates have achieved the educational objectives and the program outcomes of the BSEE degree program.

Our assessment process has four distinct but related purposes:

  1. Assessing the achievement of program educational objectives.
  2. Assessing the achievement of program outcomes.
  3. Aligning our program objectives and outcomes with the changing needs of our constituencies.
  4. Improving EECS programs.

Four sub-processes, one for each of these purposes, constitute the assessment process used for each of the EECS programs. Some inputs are shared between the sub-processes, but the sub-processes have different time scales reflecting the practicalities of acquiring different inputs and the inertia of the educational processes that are being monitored and improved. The School's assessment committee, comprising the Director and the three curriculum committee chairs, monitors the assessment process itself.

Sub-process 1. Assessing the achievement of program educational objectives

Educational Objectives Flowchart
Objectives Flowchart

Overview: Achievement of program objectives is measured as described above using alumni surveys and through interactions with the IAB and industrial recruiters. The Electrical engineering curriculum committee and the School’s assessment committee use these inputs in advising the faculty regarding changes to the curriculum to address identified problem areas. The School’s assessment committee (the Director and the chairs of the curriculum committees for all the programs) consider these inputs as well as changes in University and ABET requirements to formulate proposed changes to the objectives.

Time Scale: Alumni surveys are conducted every three years. IAB and recruiter interactions occur twice a year. The curriculum committee incorporates assessment of program objectives in its annual report in years in which alumni surveys are conducted.

Required Documentation: Alumni survey results; IAB and recruiter notes.

Responsibilities:

  • Development officer and Corporate Relations Officer– identify alumni and request survey participation
  • School director – plan and conduct IAB meetings
  • Faculty – meet with recruiters
  • Electrical Engineering curriculum committee – evaluate data and report recommendations concerning the objectives in the annual report
  • School assessment committee – recommend changes to the objectives to meet changing needs of the constituents and changing external requirements
  • The objectives and outcomes of the program and the curriculum by which they are achieved are the responsibility of the Electrical engineering faculty as a body; changes are adopted by vote of the faculty.

Sub-process 2. Assessing the achievement of program outcomes

Educational Objectives Flowchart
Outcomes Flowchart

Overview: For each program, the School maintains a program of study with program outcomes mapped to courses. Course designs require students to demonstrate, through work products such as homework, examinations, lab exercises, projects, written and oral presentations, their achievement level on the mapped outcomes. As a direct measure of achievement of outcomes, courses are designed to ensure that successful completion requires achievement of program outcomes. Each instructor certifies that a grade of C or better represents achievement of minimum requirements. The school retains documentation in the form of the instructor’s certification and examples of student work as evidence that the certification is justified. The university-wide degree audit reporting system ensures that every graduating student meets the degree program requirements which include the condition that students achieve a grade of C or better in all courses in the major.

The assessment process collects documentation of the achievement of outcomes from each course as students progress through the program. The Course Assessment Report documents each instructor’s assessment of outcomes for each course instance. A template for the report, listing expected program outcomes and course topics, is maintained by the coordinator for each course. End-state assessments are conducted through consideration of students’ performance in senior-level courses, through exit-surveys and senior Curricular Debriefs, through alumni surveys and discussions with the IAB. The Curriculum Committee uses these inputs to formulate its annual assessment report which recommends curriculum and course changes to the faculty based on the results of assessment.

Time scale: this sub-process runs continuously.

Required documentation: For each course instance, a Course Assessment Report document that shows how the work products (hw, tests, etc.) relate to achievement of the program outcomes, signed by the instructor; for each course instance syllabus, sample student work, assignments, examinations, etc.; student course evaluations; student transcripts and degree audits; senior exit surveys and interviews, Curricular Debrief reports. Alumni surveys also enter into this process.

Responsibilities:

  • Electrical Engineering curriculum committee maintains the program of study and mapping of program outcomes to required courses, subject to approval or modification by the program's faculty (see the program improvement sub-process.)
  • Course instructors devise and assess assignments and examinations in which students demonstrate their achievement of the required outcomes. Instructors produce a Course Assessment Report for each semester that a course is taught. It details how that instance of the course assessed the expected outcomes and asked the instructor to comment on students’ preparation for the course.
  • The School maintains course instance documentation and Course Assessment Reports in a central location.
  • Until Spring 2004, graduating seniors were interviewed by a senior faculty member, but this activity has been supplanted by Curricular Debriefs (described previously) and senior surveys.
  • The University Registrar maintains transcripts and provides degree audits that ensure that every student meets all the requirements of the program as a condition of graduation. Students can review their degree audit on-line at any time. The School's Undergraduate Advisor assists students in registering for required classes and meeting other graduation requirements.
  • The School does not have direct access to initial career placement data for all the students. The senior survey collects this information but many students do not have jobs by the time they take the survey. The alumni survey queries students as to their career progress.
  • The Electrical Engineering curriculum committee reviews the collected data and reports identified issues and suggested changes to the faculty for action. It also creates an annual program assessment report for the faculty and the Associate Dean.
  • The school assessment committee reviews suggested changes to the outcomes, courses, and curricula for consistency across the programs offered by the school.
  • As noted for sub-process 1, the objectives and outcomes of the program and the curriculum by which they are achieved are the responsibility of the Electrical Engineering faculty as a body; changes are adopted by vote of the faculty.

Sub-process 3. Aligning with constituencies' needs.

Aligning Object and Outcomes
Aligning Flowchart

Overview: Our process for aligning our programs’ objectives and outcomes with industrial constituencies’ needs involves three main sources of input: our Industrial Advisory Board, alumni surveys, and surveys and interviews of graduating students. Additional constituency input comes in the form of the institutional mission of WSU, which reflects the interests of Washington's citizens, and the ABET accreditation criteria. The faculty desires good personal and institutional reputations. Faculty members take pride in producing qualified graduates. Faculty input comes from faculty meetings and retreats, daily e-mail, oral, and written communications. Input from these sources is synthesized into the objectives and outcomes for each program in the School.

Time scales: We fully review program objectives and outcomes with the IAB at least every three years, though IAB input on specific issues may also be solicited annually. Alumni surveys are conducted every three years. Surveys of all graduating students are carried out each semester and a subset of graduating students participate each year in a curricular debrief that elicits their opinions of the program (in addition to the formally assessed component addressed above). Faculty review is continual through faculty and curriculum committee meetings as well as other forms of communication. We expect that objectives and outcomes will be quite stable over periods longer than three years. However, we are prepared to make changes in response to identified issues on an annual basis if needed.

Documentation: results of surveys and interviews; agendas and minutes of IAB meetings; agendas and minutes of faculty meetings; published objectives and outcomes; minutes of curriculum committee meetings.

Responsibilities:

  • The Electrical Engineering curriculum committee maintains surveys administered to graduating seniors and alumni. The survey questions attempt to elicit individuals' perspective on both the importance to their current work of various aspects of the curriculum and the preparation that they received in that aspect.
  • The School's Undergraduate Advisor conducts the survey of graduating students.
  • The School's Development Officer and Industry Relations Officer identify alumni 2, 5 and 10 years past their graduation and solicit their participation in the alumni survey, which is administered every three years.
  • The Director plans the IAB review of objectives and outcomes with the help of the curriculum committees.
  • EE curriculum committee reviews all the collected data to determine if any changes to the program objectives and outcomes are indicated. Changes are recommended to the School Director who will present the proposed changes to the faculty for deliberation and approval

Sub-process 4. Improving the Programs

Overview: Improving the programs is the major reason behind the existence of the other two sub-processes. In the figures above, program improvement is indicated by the closed feedback loops from assessment data collection to changes in the curriculum, outcomes, and objectives. The School's programs are expected to lead students to achievement and attainment of the program outcomes. To this end, the curriculum committee for each program maintains a program of study and a mapping of outcomes to specific courses within that program. The program improvement sub-process will, over time, lead to increases in both the average levels achieved by our students and the percentage of students reaching the minimum achievement level. The program improvement sub-process uses inputs from a variety of sources: the course documentation collected by the School for each course (Course Assessment Reports) including student work; student course evaluations; instructors' reflections on the level of preparation of students entering their classes and their achievement on leaving classes; retention rates from semester to semester; placement of graduates; alumni surveys; IAB input; and the annual curricular debriefs described above.

Time scale: The program improvement process at this level is the continuing responsibility of the curriculum committees, consuming most of their attention at several meetings each year. Many of the inputs are available each semester and aspects may be reviewed at any time. However, changes to the program of study are recommended to the faculty once a year. Adoption by the faculty is followed by publication of changes in the University catalog. The changes become requirements for students subsequently certifying in the major.

Documentation: published mapping of outcomes to courses; curriculum committee and faculty meeting minutes; the annual assessment report.

Responsibilities:

  • The EE curriculum committee (CC) establishes and maintains, subject to advice and concurrence by the faculty, the program of study and mapping of program outcomes to courses. The CC also reviews the inputs for problems or opportunities throughout the year.
  • The EE curriculum committee evaluates progress toward achievement of the program objectives and outcomes and reports to the faculty on what has been achieved.
  • The EE CC annually reviews new and previously identified issues. For new issues a recommended plan of action is brought to the faculty. For previously identified issues the results of actions taken are assessed and the plan updated or the issue closed.
  • The faculty acts on the CC’s recommendations or on its own initiative.
  • The Undergraduate Advisor maintains the School's files of course materials, survey results, and other raw data inputs for the improvement process.

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